White Stays Humble While Enjoying Baseball And Life


Bruce Hefflinger and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer and Editor in Chief/Scout

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White Stays Humble While Enjoying Baseball And Life

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Thomas White LHP / OF / Phillips Academy Andover , MA / 2023

ROWLEY, Ma. - As the top-ranked 2023 baseball player in the nation, it would seem being a little arrogant or egotistical might be justified, at least to a degree. However, that is far from the case with Thomas White, the Phillips Academy Andover junior who recently made a college decision to attend Vanderbilt.

“He’s super humble,” Andover head coach Kevin Graber said of the hard-throwing left-handed pitcher whose fastball has been clocked at 98 miles an hour. “You never hear him talk about himself. He’s not about instant gratification that we see in our lives today. He’s really about the team. You never see him draw attention that he’s better than others. He’s just a supportive teammate.”

A great teammate, yes, but also recognized as the best in the country and now committed to play at the next level in one of the top programs in the sport of college baseball.

THE RECRUITING PROCESS

“They were one of the first schools I talked to,” White reflected about Vanderbilt. “It was the summer of my freshman year going into sophomore year. I continued calls with (head) coach (Tim) Corbin and (Scott) Brown (the pitching coach) and built relationships. Then I finally got to go there in person. There’s no place like Vandy.”

It was one of three official visits taken by White.

“There were more schools early on, then I kind of whittled it down to the final three or four,” White said of the process.

Recruitment actually started in the middle of eight grade.

“I was super intimidated, I didn’t know what to say,” White admitted about his first talk with a college coach. “It wasn’t a super long call. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t think of what to say. I remember I felt bad when I got off the phone.”

His parents, Tim and Joanna White, had been through recruitment with their daughter Caitlin, who is now on the golf team at Merrimack but it was a bit different with their oldest son.

“We talked about the same things with him as our daughter,” noted Joanna, who also has a 15-year-old son Adam, a freshman at Triton Regional High School. “Size of the school, closeness to home, things like that. It was just that the scale was so much bigger with him, naturally. We learned early on we won’t be able to go see all of the schools that were interested and narrowed it down at the outset.”

Last summer the list was five and by winter it was down to four.

“He really wanted to go to the schools and meet the person he was going to be playing for,” Joanna explained. “But travel was difficult with the pandemic. Once he got on campus he felt he could decide. As a parent, I like that at one school we watched an intersquad game and at another we watched a game. Seeing coaches interact helped us.”

It was a learning process for all.

“We tried to keep our opinions out of it as best we could do,” Joanna noted. “Ultimately, he had to own the decision. I didn’t want him to pick what I wanted.”

His father did his best to help guide his son.

“I told him to write down the pros and cons with each,” Tim said. “The campus, atmosphere, city or rural, how far from home, the weather.”

THE DECISION

While the process was a long one, the decision in the end was not difficult.

“I had no expectations going in,” White said of his recruitment. “I just wanted to see where it goes and Vanderbilt reached out. When that happens you’re going to talk to them. Once I got down there I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was better than I ever imagined.”

A commitment followed.

“It was the combination of really good academics and one main piece,” White explained. “Vanderbilt is the best baseball program in the country. There’s no better place to develop as a person, player and human being.”

The visit to the school in Nashville, less than a three-hour flight from home, was memorable.

“It was awesome,” White noted. “They were really classy the whole time. I literally met the entire team. It was surreal. I was sitting in coach Corbin’s office and I went on the field. It was insane.”

So what did Corbin like about White?

“Me as a player and person,” White explained. “I’m what coach Corbin looks for, someone who puts his head down to do what he can to get the team a win. I fit into that mold.”

Both parents were ecstatic with the decision their son made.

“What a great experience, we had a great weekend there,” Tim said of the visit to Vanderbilt. “We met all the players in a Saturday morning meeting room where they had an analysis of a scrimmage the night before. It was awesome to see that and get a feel of what it would be like to be on the team.”

The school itself also stood out in addition to the baseball program, with Tim repeating a statement he heard calling Vanderbilt “the Harvard of the south” which his wife approves of highly.

“It’s a great academic school,” Joanna pointed out. “You don’t send a kid to Andover without marrying baseball using cutting-age technology to go with academics.”

BEING NUMBER ONE

Every day across the country student-athletes are making college decisions. It’s just a little more  noteworthy when it involves a player rated number one in the nation.

“I didn’t expect it,” White said of being the top-rated player in North America in the 2023 class. “When I first saw it I thought it was fake. I didn’t know what to think. I thought, there’s no way I’m the best. Staying humble can be difficult, but I never talk about the ranking. I’m not a big talker.”

Still, the idea that as a freshman Prep Baseball Report ranked White the best in his class was exhilarating.

“It’s awesome to have all the hard work recognized,” White said. “It’s one of the best things to have happened, but you just have to stay humble and surround yourself with others like you. I don’t talk about it much. I don’t feel I need to. I’m just normal to people that I surround myself with.”

It was eye-opening for his parents.

“When he was younger he always threw harder and was taller and bigger than his peers,” Tim related. “I knew he was talented, but not to this level.”

But it did not change how Tim and Joanne advise their oldest son.

“One thing we’ve always done with our kids is tell them to do their talking on the field,” Tim said. “Take care of business on the field. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to outwork the best. Work when nobody is watching, whatever your passion is. I think if you do that, you’ll be successful in life.”

Added Joanne: “Enjoy your friendships made. We want to be perceived as good parents and teammates. The same with our kids. We want our kids to realize that team is really really important.”

THE EARLY DAYS

Being bigger and more talented in younger days also brings decisions.

“As parents we always were having conversations about how do we keep challenging him,” explained Joanna. “Then when he was eight he had the opportunity to play in kid’s pitch. He could throw strikes better than most kids do around here.

“Then we said let’s try travel and maybe he won’t be as dominating. We were thinking that’s when he might reach the ceiling. But he just kept expanding it. He hasn’t reached his ceiling yet.”

White remembers well his early days in the game of baseball.

“I always threw hard for my age,” reflected White. “A lot of the townball parents thought I should play up one or two levels. Once I started playing with Legends I stopped playing townball.”

That was in 2015 when Club Baseball started for White, who had just turned 10.

“That’s when I started to fall in love with baseball,” White related. “Playing every weekend with my best friends was so much fun. I loved playing and was pretty good at it. I didn’t know college or pro ball was possible at that time. That didn’t happen until my freshman year.”

DESIRE TO IMPROVE

With his love for the game growing along with the number one ranking in the country came the desire to continue improving.

“It’s competitiveness,” White explained. “Once I got the ranking I didn’t want to lose it. That’s who I am. I’m not going to be stagnant. I’m always doing something, usually with baseball which is what I love. I’m very much a perfectionist. If I just accepted the ranking I’d not be able to live with myself. I always want to be the best.”

Hard work is nothing new according to his mother.

“When he was young he was a very intense kid,” Joanne said. “He was always striving and wanting to work hard which as a parent is great. He played football, basketball and baseball all through junior high and played basketball as a freshman. But there were no winter sports with Covid when he was a sophomore.”

By then, White was a standout on the diamond, something his head coach in high school appreciates.

“I’m 52 years old and have been in a baseball uniform since I was six,” Graber said. “I remember saying to myself I wonder if I’m ever going to be around a generational talent.”

That happened with White.

“He’s everything you dreamed of in terms of ability and personal qualities,” Graber said.

HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL

The chance to get back to normalcy has finally happened this spring when it comes to playing high school ball.

“There was no season his freshman year and then last year they only played 14 or 15 games over four weekends,” Joanna said. “He’s finally having a high school season.”

In his first outing for Andover this spring White threw 63 pitches in four innings, allowing no hits and no runs while striking out eight. In his next game he struck out eight of nine batters faced and is now 2-0 on the season with a 0.00 ERA, permitting no hits and two walks with 16 Ks in seven innings of work.

“I figured out a few mechanical things which caused inconsistent accuracy with my fastball,” White said about how he’s improved. “This year I’ve been all around the zone. With my offspeed I figured out a change at the end of summer and it’s been great. So has my curve. My accuracy with all three pitches has been good.

“I watched a lot of video and in talking with my pitching coach and my high school coach, it’s going to be a good year.”

Graber is more than pleased to have a player like White wearing the Andover uniform.

“When your best player and most talented player is also your hardest worker you can’t help but love it,” Graber said. “But that’s Thomas. It’s a dream come true. He runs on the field, he’s always the first to rake the mound or tamp it. He’s always congratulating and helping his teammates. That’s just how he is. 

“Everyone has heard a lot of things about him as far as talent, but combine that with being an outstanding student and the first to pick up the equipment and all the little things … that’s what makes him super special.”

HELP IN THE PROCESS

Getting to this point in life and baseball has been a memorable experience for White, whose other fields of interest include cars, all sports, working out, going to the gym and hanging out with friends and family.

He credited his parents for helping make his baseball journey what it is today.

“My parents have been the biggest piece of all of this,” explained White, who also gave much credit to pitching coach Rusty Tucker and hitting coach Steve Santucci along with Graber. “My parents have meant everything in this. I usually just wing it, but they pushed me to have a plan with what I’m going to do when talking to coaches. They’ve always been there to help me make the best decision for me.

“This whole thing took a long time. They probably know me better than I do and I couldn’t have done this without them.”

His parents are thrilled to be a part of it all.

“He’s been able to use baseball to get an incredible education,” his mother said. “We’re so proud of him.”

THE FUTURE

Vanderbilt is happy to have White on board and his family is ecstatic about it.

“I think he’s found the perfect spot,” Joanne said about the Southeastern Conference school. “Going to a boarding school now is a baby step, so I’m more comfortable with him going so far away. It’s just a short flight from home.”
Tim, who played football at Merrimack and tried out with the Raiders and Patriots in the NFL in 1993 as a punter, put it simply: “It’s an amazing school and program. What an amazing opportunity.”

While his father played a major role in White’s development to make it to the next level, there admittedly has not been much catching his son these days.

“I coached him until the last few years,” Tim said. “The last time I caught him was 2019 or 2020. I kind of bailed after that. Now that I’m over 50 my eyesight isn’t what it was. Once he got over 90, I was pretty much done.”

Now there are bigger dreams ahead.

“As a mom, I’m hoping he achieves all the goals he sets for himself,” Joanne said. “He wants to be a pro baseball player and has avoided the typical teenage stuff to achieve those goals. He’s a super hard worker and amazingly dedicated. I look forward to seeing him grow and develop as a baseball player and man. I can't wait to see what the future holds and we’re looking forward to being a part of it.”

As for White, his thoughts about Vanderbilt are point blank.

“I can’t wait to get on campus, meet the guys and a trip to the College World Series would be nice,” White said.

As for baseball beyond college, the 17-year-old can only fantasize about it right now.

“It’s my dream to be a Major League Baseball pitcher,” White said. “You never know what’s going to happen in your future, you’ve just gotta put your head down and do what you need to do. Right now I’m just going to finish out my high school career and whatever happens after that happens.”


Thomas White

Class of 2023 / LHP

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2023
  • Primary Position: LHP
    Secondary Position: OF
  • High School: Phillips Academy Andover
    State: MA
  • Summer Team: Legends Prospects
  • Height: 6-5
    Weight: 210lbs
  • Bat/Throw: L/L

Statistics

Pitching
98
Max FB
(08/27/21)
91 - 93
FB
(08/02/20)
71 - 72
CB
(08/02/20)
76 - 77
CH
(08/02/20)
72 - 73
SL
(07/30/19)
Pitching
Max FB
93
FB
91 - 93
CB
71 - 72
CH
76 - 77
Pitching
Max FB
93
FB
91 - 93
CB
71 - 72
CH
76 - 77
Pitching
Max FB
92
FB
91 - 92
CB
68 - 69
CH
70 - 72
Pitching
Max FB
85
FB
84 - 85
CH
68 - 72
SL
65 - 66
Position
7.03
60-yard
(08/17/21)
91
OF Velo
(03/01/20)
102
Exit Velo
(08/01/20)
Trackman - Fastball
93.4
Velocity (max)
(08/17/21)
90.6 - 92.4
Velo Range
(08/17/21)
91.9
Eff Velocity (avg)
(08/02/20)
2499
Spin Rate (max)
(08/17/21)
2429
Spin Rate (avg)
(08/17/21)
19.3
IVB (max)
(08/17/21)
18.1
IVB (avg)
(08/17/21)
-12.1
HM (max)
(08/17/21)
-8.8
HM (avg)
(08/17/21)
7.0
Extension (avg)
(08/02/20)
5.6
Release Ht (avg)
(08/02/20)
27
Spin Score (max)
(08/17/21)
60
Zone %
(08/02/20)
Trackman - Fastball
Velocity (max)
93.4
Velo Range
90.6 - 92.4
Eff Velocity (avg)
88.8
Spin Rate (max)
2499
Spin Rate (avg)
2429
IVB (max)
IVB (avg)
HM (max)
HM (avg)
Extension (avg)
Release Ht (avg)
Spin Score (max)
Zone %
Trackman - Fastball
Velocity (max)
93
Velo Range
90 - 92
Eff Velocity (avg)
91.9
Spin Rate (max)
2491
Spin Rate (avg)
2240
IVB (max)
IVB (avg)
HM (max)
HM (avg)
Extension (avg)
Release Ht (avg)
Spin Score (max)
Zone %
Trackman - Curveball
74.3
Velocity (max)
(08/02/20)
71.1 - 73.5
Velo Range
(08/02/20)
72.2
Eff Velocity (avg)
(08/02/20)
2423
Spin Rate (max)
(08/17/21)
2379
Spin Rate (avg)
(08/17/21)
-8.0
IVB (max)
(08/02/20)
-5.9
IVB (avg)
(08/02/20)
11.7
HM (max)
(08/02/20)
9.1
HM (avg)
(08/02/20)
6.2
Extension (avg)
(08/02/20)
5.3
Release Ht (avg)
(08/02/20)
35
Spin Score (max)
(08/17/21)
40
Zone %
(08/02/20)
Trackman - Curveball
Velocity (max)
68.8
Velo Range
68.6 - 68.8
Spin Rate (max)
2423
Spin Rate (avg)
2379
Extension (avg)
Release Ht (avg)
Spin Score (max)
Trackman - Curveball
Velocity (max)
74.3
Velo Range
71.1 - 73.5
Eff Velocity (avg)
72.2
Spin Rate (max)
2334
Spin Rate (avg)
2174
IVB (max)
IVB (avg)
HM (max)
HM (avg)
Extension (avg)
Release Ht (avg)
Spin Score (max)
Zone %
Trackman - ChangeUp
81.3
Velocity (max)
(08/17/21)
79.9 - 81.3
Velo Range
(08/17/21)
78.0
Eff Velocity (avg)
(08/02/20)
1840
Spin Rate (max)
(08/17/21)
1831
Spin Rate (avg)
(08/17/21)
11.7
IVB (max)
(08/17/21)
11.7
IVB (avg)
(08/17/21)
-17.9
HM (max)
(08/17/21)
-17.9
HM (avg)
(08/17/21)
6.7
Extension (avg)
(08/02/20)
5.1
Release Ht (avg)
(08/02/20)
23
Spin Score (max)
(08/17/21)
Trackman - ChangeUp
Velocity (max)
81.3
Velo Range
79.9 - 81.3
Eff Velocity (avg)
76.8
Spin Rate (max)
1840
Spin Rate (avg)
1831
IVB (max)
IVB (avg)
HM (max)
HM (avg)
Extension (avg)
Release Ht (avg)
Spin Score (max)
Trackman - ChangeUp
Velocity (max)
77.7
Eff Velocity (avg)
78
Spin Rate (max)
1603
Spin Rate (avg)
1603
IVB (max)
IVB (avg)
HM (max)
HM (avg)
Extension (avg)
Release Ht (avg)
Spin Score (max)
Trackman - Hitting
102.2
Exit Velocity (max)
(08/02/20)
85.6
Exit Velocity (avg)
(08/02/20)
225
Distance (avg)
(08/02/20)
345
Distance (max)
(08/02/20)
38
Hard Hit %
(08/02/20)
6
Barrel %
(08/02/20)
71
Sweet Spot %
(08/17/21)
47
Line Drive %
(08/17/21)
43.8
Fly Ball %
(08/02/20)
29
Ground Ball %
(08/17/21)
Trackman - Hitting
Exit Velocity (max)
94.8
Exit Velocity (avg)
84
Distance (avg)
218
Distance (max)
315
Hard Hit %
Sweet Spot %
Line Drive %
Fly Ball %
Ground Ball %
Trackman - Hitting
Exit Velocity (max)
102.2
Exit Velocity (avg)
85.6
Distance (avg)
225
Distance (max)
345
Hard Hit %
Barrel %
Sweet Spot %
Line Drive %
Fly Ball %
Ground Ball %
Blast - Hitting
29.4
Hand Speed (max)
(08/02/20)
27.2
Hand Speed (avg)
(08/02/20)
73.9
Bat Speed (max)
(08/17/21)
68.9
Bat Speed (avg)
(08/17/21)
34.4
Rot. Acc (max)
(08/17/21)
29.0
Rot. Acc (avg)
(08/17/21)
86
On Plane Eff (avg)
(08/17/21)
92
MaxOnPlaneEfficiency
(08/17/21)
Blast - Hitting
Hand Speed (max)
25.5
Hand Speed (avg)
23.5
Bat Speed (max)
73.9
Bat Speed (avg)
68.9
Rot. Acc (max)
Rot. Acc (avg)
On Plane Eff (avg)
MaxOnPlaneEfficiency
Blast - Hitting
Hand Speed (max)
29.4
Hand Speed (avg)
27.2
Bat Speed (max)
71.9
Bat Speed (avg)
67.8
Rot. Acc (max)
Rot. Acc (avg)
On Plane Eff (avg)

Pitch_Scores

Pitch Scores - Fastball
104
Hop+
(08/02/20)
85
Rise+
(08/02/20)
71
Sink+
(08/02/20)

Scouting Reports

8/27/21
KELLY RODMAN SUMMER RIVALRY CLASSIC

The young left-hander pitched at Fenway Park this past week and he continues to grow in development.  His fastball showed good life, up to 98 mph with good life. The command needs to continue to grow but the secondary stuff is trending up. The changeup has improved significantly in the last year, as it is thrown with better arm speed, showing fade and depth to the pitch.  The potential on the mound its unlimited. 

8/17/21

Thomas White: LHP/OF, (2023) Phillips Academy, Andover, MA. 6-foot-4, 200-pound projectable and  athletic frame. Above average and projectable in the box, White recorded an exit velocity of 95 mph. (68.95 mph bat speed average). (23.53 mph hand speed average). Started in a balanced wide stance with a small load, then used a short stride. Bat speed was above average, had an uphill loose swing plane and high finish. During his round he produced loud contact and found lots of barrels. Gap to gap approach. Showed a ¾ slot and a loose very quick arm action with consistent accuracy to the base. In the 60-yard dash, his time was 7.03. Above average on the mound, showed electric arm speed with a ¾ arm angle and a very quick loose arm action. Up-tempo feel type pitcher who shows easy effort. In his delivery his balance point is tall with in line shoulders. Lands closed with an athletic finish. Produced a fastball that came in at 92-93 mph; has slight running action and arm side command with heavy movement. (Max spin 2498; Avg 2429). Has a 11/5 curveball (69-70) that showed glove side around the zone command and sweeping action. (Max spin 2422; Avg 2378). Has a sharp changeup (80-81) that shows arm side control and swing and miss fading action. Scout Evaluation Thomas White, Phillips Academy, Andover, 2023, MAPosition: LHP/OFBody: 6-foot-4, 200-pound projectable, athletic frame.Hit: (LHH) Above average and  projectable. Starts in a balanced wide stance with a small load, then uses a short stride. Above average bat speed. High finish, uphill loose swing. Gap to gap approach. Power: 95 mph exit velocity, average 83.98 mph. 68.95 mph bat speed average. 23.53 mph hand speed average.Arm:  Loose very quick arm action, ¾ slot, consistent accuracy. Speed: 7.03 (60-yard).Pitching: Above average. Up-tempo feel delivery, easy effort. ¾ arm angle, electric arm speed, very quick loose arm action. Consistent balance point, in line shoulders, lands closed, an athletic finish.FB: T93. 92-93 mph. (Max spin 2498;  Avg 2429). Arm side accuracy, slight running action, heavy movement. CB: 69-70 mph. Glove side around the zone command, sweeping action, 11/5 shape. (Max spin 2422; Avg 2378). CH: 80-81 mph. Arm side control, swing and miss fading action, sharp movement. 

8/02/20
Future Games

6-foot-4, 190-pound left-handed pitcher and left-handed hitting outfielder. On the mound, the fastball touched 93 mph with plus life and action to it. The spin pitch is a slider, sitting 71-72 mph, as it needs to be thrown with more fastball hand speed. The shape of it is solid, he just needs to cut it loose. The changeup is a solid pitch, sitting 76-77 mph. The delivery is online and the slot is super loose, above 3/4. The lift is repeated, solid in tempo and he stays soft with the front side. The extension to the plate is outstanding as he stays with his arm. His stuff is serious and he showed good command of his pitches. Positionally, he threw 91 mph from the outfield with carry and accuracy. He hosed a guy at the plate in the game. The bat has an exit velocity of 102 mph. The setup is wide in base and he uses a pick up and put down of the front foot as the ball approaches. The path is long to contact.

3/01/20

6-foot-4, 190-pound left-handed pitcher and outfielder. On the mound, the fastball was explosive and active, sitting at 92 mph. The spin pitch is solid in shape, it sat at 68-69 mph. The pitch is solid in shape. The changeup is 70-72 mph with fade and sink. The delivery is online with the feet and slot is slightly above 3/4. The arm is ultra quick and free in motion. The lift is athletic, stays on time with his posture and the glove side is posted. The tracking of the front shoulder is excellent. The approach in the outfield is athletic and online, he threw 91 mph during the outfield portion of the workout. The bat has a tee exit velocity of 89 mph. The setup is wide in base and the bottom half is under control. The path is flat to contact and he accelerates his hands through contact. 

7/31/19
FUTURE GAMES
 

6-foot-2, 180-pound left-handed pitcher. The frame is thin, the arms are long and lanky. The athleticism is excellent and he shows feel for his body. The delivery has crossfire to the feet causing deception and a plus angle to the hitter. The arm works clean, slightly higher than 3/4 in slot. The tempo of the delivery is solid and he repeats the action. He is still growing into his frame, so the addition of weight and physical strength should put him in a class by himself as he matures. The fastball sits 88-90 mph with arm side action to it. The spin pitch is slurvy in shape, sitting 71-73 mph. The changeup is a developing pitch for him, sitting 74-75 mph.  One of the better 2023 pitchers in the United States of America

3/03/19

6-foot-2, 180-pound left-handed pitcher. Was outstanding at the event. The fastball touched 85 mph, arm side action to the pitch. The slider is his spin pitch, sitting at 66 mph, small in shape. The changeup had action and fade to it, sitting at 72 mph. The delivery is online with the feet, the slot is above 3.4 and loose. The tracking is done well and the ball gets out front. The front side is soft and posted. The stuff projects through the roof. Positionally, threw 87 mph from the outfield out of an aggressive approach. The bat has a tee exit velocity of 87 mph. The setup is even in base, the front foot steps into the swing. The path is flat and strong to contact. Big time prospect across the board.


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(8/17/21)

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