In a nice bit of news, the Astros announced this morning they had signed first-round pick Forrest Whitley, a right-handed pitcher from San Antonio. Whitley was selected 17th overall in this month's Rule 4 draft by the Astros.
While terms of his deal were not disclosed, the slot value of Whitley's selection was $2.5 million. It was expected that the Astros would need to make room in the budget to sign Whitley for over that slot. The team can exceed their draft bonus pool amount by up to five percent before incurring penalties.
UPDATE: Jim Callis reports that the Astros signed Whitley for $600,000 more than his slot amount.
Whitley's signing marks the 10th first-round pick to agree with his team. He is also the 26th player the Astros have agreed to terms with from the 2016 draft. Houston has also signed nine of its top 10 picks.
The Astros also announced the signings of C Raymond Henderson-Lozano (22nd round), IF Troy Sieber (24th), LHP Nathan Thompson (27th), OF Chaz Pal (38th), IF Tyler Wolfe (39th) and RHP Lucas Williams (40th).
According to the press release, the 18-year-old Whitley posted a 9-1 record and a 0.31 ERA in his senior season at Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio, Texas. He struck out 126 batters in his 68.0 innings of work. Whitley pitched Alamo Heights into the UIL Class 5A Final by tossing a dominant 6.2 innings pitched, with 11 strikeouts, vs. College Station HS in the Semifinal Game at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
The last right-handed pitcher taken out of high school in the first round by the Astros was RHP Lance McCullers out of Jesuit HS in Tampa, Fla., who was taken 41st overall in 2012. The last time the Astros had the 17th overall selection was in 1998, when they took RHP Brad Lidge out of the University of Notre Dame