Braves offseason trade acquisition could be latest successful reclamation project

Daniel young Braves

The Braves are one of the best clubs in baseball at plucking players off the streets and turning them into reclamation projects, and the next project was acquired via trade this offseason — Eli White.

Over the last three seasons, White has played for the Rangers and performed abysmally with the stick. In 389 plate appearances, he boasts an unsightly 56 wRC+.

There are no redeeming qualities to his approach either. He strikes out a lot and when he does make contact, it’s weak. His contact rates are atrocious, which limits his pop. With no contact and no pop, why would the Braves even try? Well, he does everything else really well.

Despite a 67 wRC+ in 117 plate appearances last season, he somehow accumulated nearly 1.0 fWAR because of his base running and defense. He’s got incredible speed, evident in his prowess on the base paths and in the field. Still, he can’t hit, but it’s possible the Braves can unlock a facet of the game the Rangers were unable.

“It’s going to be a process,” White said via AJC. “I’m not expecting to be Barry Bonds coming out of the gate, but I’m confident that I’m on the right path.”

Working with Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and assistant hitting coach Bobby Magallanes will surely bring out the best in Eli White, but he will have a difficult path to making the Opening Day roster. Jordan Luplow, Sam Hilliard, and Kevin Pillar will all be competing for that left field/bench role. All are very similar players — very good defenders that have their warts offensively. The Braves will only keep a couple of these guys, but Eli White has a chance.

Photographer: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire

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