The Mariners Monday selected Evan White, University of Kentucky first baseman-outfielder, in the first round of Major League Baseball’s free agent draft. The Mariners had the 17th pick, using it on the Gahanna, OH., native, who bats right and throws left. With their only other pick Monday, the Mariners selected RHP Sam Carlson out of Burnsville (MN.) High School in the second round.
White, 21, is the first first baseman taken in the first round by the Mariners since John Mayberry in 2002 (Mayberry didn’t sign).
The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder last year was a Golden Spikes semifinalist and second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. He won a NCAA Rawlings Gold Glove as a first baseman in 2016 and is projected as an MLB first baseman who could play the outfield.
“I’m a guy who likes to stay in the middle of the field and go gap to gap as a hitter,” said White. “I’ve played a lot more first base than outfield, so I’m more comfortable there, but I have played some outfield.”
White was also selected second-team preseason All-America last season by both Collegiate Baseball and PerfectGame.org, as well as third-team preseason All-America by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and D1 Baseball.
“We’re very excited to add Evan White to the organization,” said Scott Hunter, the Mariners’ director of amateur scouting. “His addition will give us another athletic player whose character and baseball acumen will allow him to have success. He understands and values what the Seattle Mariners are all about, both on and off the field.”
During his junior season at Kentucky, White hit .373 with 48 runs, 24 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 41 RBIs and 25 walks with a .453 on-base percentage and a .637 slugging mark in 53 games.
White spent last summer as a member of USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, where he started 15 of the team’s 19 games, primarily at first base with spot starts in the outfield.
In three seasons with the Wildcats, White hit .356 with 17 home runs, 109 RBIs, a .414 on-base percentage and a .527 slugging mark in 159 games.
After his sophomore season, he was named to the 2016 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, earned a Rawlings Gold Glove, was a second-team All-SEC choice and also also earned SEC Player of the Week honors twice.
Prior to Kentucky, White was the All-Ohio Baseball Player of the Year in 2014 and ranked as the 13th-best Ohio prospect in the 2014 MLB draft.
During his senior season at Burnsville, Carlson had a 0.53 ERA while compiling a 3-1 record. Carlson was the Gatorade Player of the Year for Minnesota in 2017 and was named to the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association’s all-section and all-state teams in 2016.
The Mariners have not drafted an All-Star player in the first round since 2003, when they selected outfielder Adam Jones, now with the Baltimore Orioles.
Mariners’ first picks since 2001
2016: Kyle Lewis, OF (first round, 11th overall)
2015: Nick Neidert, RHP (second round, 60th overall)
2014: Alex Jackson, OF (first round, sixth overall)
2013: D.J. Peterson, 3B (first round, 12th overall)
2012: Mike Zunino, C (first round, third overall)
2011: Danny Hultzen, LHP (first round, second overall)
2010: Taijuan Walker, RHP (first round supplemental, 43rd overall)
2009: Dustin Ackley, 2B (first round, second overall)
2008: Josh Fields, RHP (first round, 20th overall)
2007: Phillippe Aumont, RHP (first round, 11th overall)
2006: Brandon Morrow, RHP (first round, fifth overall)
2005: Jeff Clement, C (first round, third overall)
2004: Matt Tuiasosopo, SS (third round, 93rd overall)
2003: Adam Jones, SS (first round supplemental, 37th)
2002: John Mayberry Jr., 1B (first round, 28th overall)
2001: Michael Garciaparra, SS (first round supplemental, 36th)