Astros Scouting Director Mike Elias and newly-signed first round pick Forrest Whitley held a press conference together at noon central time today, and it’s understandable if you missed it: it was short and sweet.
Whitley, wearing number 16, talked about his change-up and mentioned that it's his favorite pitch to throw, and that he considers it his best out pitch. Quite a bit was made about his body (his highest weight total was 263 pounds as a junior) and how he grew (five inches in the second semester of his freshman year of high school) as well as his plans for his conditioning going forward. On the latter topic, he mentioned that he’s actually lost a bit more weight than he intended to – he’s listed at 225 pounds on his draft card – and will look to add some of that back, presumably in a healthy and advantageous way.
Mike Elias said Whitley will go to the GCL Rookie League Astros and will pitch some professional innings this summer, but he's on a bit of a layoff right now after the Texas High School playoffs. It sounds like a small workload this summer is on the docket, and they'll ramp him up based on how he responds.
Whitley cited Tim Lincecum as a pitcher he emulated when he was younger, and he mentioned liking Chris Archer as well. He also cited Nolan Ryan as a player he emulates in some ways, and as a legendary pitcher that he looks up to a lot – though Forrest says he hasn’t spoken with Ryan yet. He seemed quite excited that Nolan had come to see him pitch, he talked a fair amount about respecting Nolan's durability and his conditioning, and mentioned wanting to get advice from him.
All in all, Whitley seems a pretty well-spoken and sharp young man who is quite excited to be joining the Astros organization.