Forrest Whitley
Forrest Whitley
21-Year-Old PitcherRP
Houston Astros
2019 Fantasy Outlook
An athletic, 6-foot-7 righty, Whitley is the undisputed top pitching prospect in the game. He has five plus pitches, including two 70-grade offerings in his fastball and changeup. It is the most dominant minor-league arsenal in recent memory. The question is, how many innings will he log in the big leagues this season? He was suspended for the first 50 games of 2018 for violating the minor-league drug program (Adderall is the rumored drug) and then missed over five weeks with a mild oblique strain. When factoring in the Texas League playoffs and the Arizona Fall League, Whitley threw just 55 innings. This is the most important statistic to consider when evaluating him for redraft leagues. He has never pitched at Triple-A and will likely be limited to around 110 innings, so even if he is healthy and dominant, Whitley may only log around 15 starts in the majors. He will be awesome when he pitches, just be aware of the workload limitations. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a contract with the Astros in June of 2016 that includes a $3.15 million signing bonus.
Outside chance to reach majors
PHouston Astros  AA
Shoulder
August 11, 2019
Whitley (shoulder) could still contribute in some capacity in the majors this season, but he faces an uphill battle to do so, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. "He would have to prove to us in August that he could help us, which is a high bar (because) he's not currently on the (40-man) roster," general manager Jeff Luhnow said Saturday. "But I'm not going to rule it out, that's for sure."
ANALYSIS
He walked five and only threw 42 of 82 pitches for strikes in 3.2 innings Saturday for Double-A Corpus Christi, interrupting what had been a nice three-game run for him. In his three previous starts -- two at High-A and one at Double-A -- Whitley struck out 16 and walked only three in 12.1 innings of three-run ball. Whitley is certainly talented enough to make a case for joining the big-league roster in September, but he would really have to be lights-out going forward to force the Astros to clear a 40-man roster spot for him. In all likelihood, he will make his big-league debut in 2020.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
Whitley joined Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dylan Bundy and Chad Billingsley as the only prep first rounders over the last 20 years to reach Double-A in their first full season. He accomplished the feat in style, getting better as the year went on (23.6 K-BB% at Low-A, 31.8 K-BB% at High-A, 39.3 K-BB% at Double-A). At 6-foot-7, 240 pounds, he has the frame to eat innings and uses his length to get excellent extension on his pitches, allowing his 92-94 mph fastball to play up as a plus pitch. This is usually where we discuss which secondary pitches need to improve for a 20-year-old to eventually profile in the rotation, but Whitley already has a complete four-pitch repertoire. His curveball is a second plus offering, and he commands a quality changeup and improving slider. It was announced in late February that he will be suspended for the first 50 games of 2018 for testing positive for a drug of abuse. This won't have a major impact on his long-term prospects, but could delay his big-league debut.
A 6-foot-7, 240-pound prep righty, Whitley draws physical comparisons to Josh Johnson. He fell to the Astros with the 17th pick, and they happily gave him an over-slot $3.15 million bonus. Whitley has a mid-90s fastball that receives plus-plus grades thanks to superb late life, and he features three secondary offerings -- something that separates him from most hard-throwing 19-year-olds. His hammer curveball is his second-best pitch, but his slider also shows plus potential. Given his age and size, the fact that he already has feel for a changeup is another mark in his favor. Excluding a 1.1-inning relief appearance where Whitley gave up four earned runs, he notched a 3.12 ERA and 24:5 K:BB in 17.1 innings across stops in the Gulf Coast and Appalachian leagues. He should receive an assignment to the Midwest League to start 2017. There is plenty of risk in investing in 6-foot-7 prep arms, and there will undoubtedly be bumps along the developmental road, but Whitley has the tools and physical traits to be a special pitcher for a long time.
More Fantasy News
Set for another Double-A start
PHouston Astros  AA
Shoulder
August 9, 2019
Whitley (shoulder) will make another start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Friday.
ANALYSIS
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Moves to Double-A
PHouston Astros  AA
Shoulder
August 1, 2019
Whitley (shoulder) was transferred to Double-A Corpus Christi on Thursday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Not moving up yet
PHouston Astros  AA
Shoulder
July 29, 2019
Whitley (shoulder) will make at least one more start at High-A Fayetteville before moving up to either Double-A Corpus Christi or Triple-A Round Rock, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
ANALYSIS
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Starting at High-A
PHouston Astros  AA
Shoulder
July 23, 2019
Whitley (shoulder) will make a rehab start for High-A Fayetteville on Wednesday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
ANALYSIS
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Joining High-A soon
PHouston Astros  AA
Shoulder
July 22, 2019
General manager Jeff Luhnow said Whitley (shoulder) will pitch for High-A Fayetteville before the end of the month, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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