Forrest Whitley
Forrest Whitley
22-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.
Excellent in first AFL start
PHouston Astros  AA
September 25, 2019
Whitley, who took a no-hitter into the fifth inning of his 2019 Arizona Fall League debut, attributed a lot of his woes this season to trying to make some necessary mechanical adjustments that he hopes will ease the stress on his shoulder going forward, Jim Callis of reports. "I'm getting a lot more comfortable with the newer delivery, throwing a lot more strikes as of late, bullpen [sessions] have been really solid lately," Whitley said.
He missed seven weeks with shoulder fatigue this year, which is what led to the mechanical tweaks that he says resulted in some growing pains that will be worth it in the long run. Whitley is working on maintaining a better posture in is upper body, and it is understandably not an overnight fix when adjusting a delivery that he has been using for the past seven years. He struck out six while allowing one hit and two walks in 4.2 innings for Peoria over the weekend. Whitley is simply too talented to struggle for much longer if his health cooperates. He won't make the big-league rotation out of spring training, but if his mechanical adjustments pay off, he could spend a good chunk of 2020 in the majors.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Forrest Whitley
MLB Barometer: Risers & Fallers
49 days ago
Erik Halterman looks at the season's biggest risers and fallers in his farewell column. Few players outperformed their ADP as much as Kansas City's Jorge Soler this year.
Mound Musings: The Kids on Parade 2020 Watch List
54 days ago
Brad Johnson offers up his annual list of pitching prospects, and on that list is Casey Mize, whom he thinks could be propeled into the prospects’ top tier with a little more consistency.
Regan's Rumblings: Prospect Stashes for Next Year
63 days ago
Dave Regan does a deep dive into prospects to keep an eye on in 2020, including Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco, who stands out with his incredibly advanced plate discipline at such a young age.
Minor League Barometer: Risers & Fallers
81 days ago
Jesse Siegel concludes his season outlook by presenting his top performers and disappointments.
Farm Futures: Top 15 Pitchers Under 26
83 days ago
James Anderson ranks the top young pitchers in the game and still thinks highly of Forrest Whitley, despite a year to forget.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
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
Headed to AFL
PHouston Astros  AA
August 27, 2019
Whitley will throw in the Arizona Fall League, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
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Outside chance to reach majors
PHouston Astros  AA
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."
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Set for another Double-A start
PHouston Astros  AA
August 9, 2019
Whitley (shoulder) will make another start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Friday.
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Moves to Double-A
PHouston Astros  AA
August 1, 2019
Whitley (shoulder) was transferred to Double-A Corpus Christi on Thursday, Brian McTaggart of reports.
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Not moving up yet
PHouston Astros  AA
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.
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