Weight: 225 lbs.
Classification: High school senior
Whitley is a tall, hard-throwing, Texas-born right handed pitcher. Heard that before? Like many an amateur flamethrower before him from this great state, Whitley is a top prep prospect in next week's draft. Though Texas doesn't seem to churn out the same number of high school arms as they have in years past (there's about one first rounder a year), Whitley will look to carry the torch into pro ball.
Whitley is a large human for a high school senior. Standing at 6'7'' now, Whitley apparently had a huge growth spurt in his early high school years (he was sub-six feet coming into Alamo Heights), and predictably added fastball velocity to go along with that height. Whitley can touch 96-97 with his fastball, but sits a bit lower than that.
To go along with an improved fastball and a huge growth spurt, Whitley added a good amount of weight that he's seemed to harness in the last year- scouts last year were concerned about his "soft" body at 250 lbs. (read: baby fat). However, he's turned his size into an advantage and has a better pitcher's frame at this point (read: Crossfit), dropping to 225 lbs.
Whitley's fastball is currently is top offering, as it sits closer to 92-94 mph consistently. The fastball looks to have some horizontal run on it as well- if you watch Whitley's first pitch of the second video below (that game is also in a dome in Japan which is cool), he throws some kind of nasty two-seamer that tails away from the right-handed hitter last minute. That could just be a flash of a developing fastball with movement, but it's pretty impressive either way.
Whitley also throws a breaking pitch that fluctuates between a slider and a curve, with the curve variety looking a little stronger at the moment. He's working on a changeup to shape up his arsenal, which needs a little more work going forward to be major league average.
Additionally, Whitley has extensive experience around the prep baseball circuits- he played in the Under Armour game as well as the USA U-18 team. Also, Texas 5A baseball isn't bad either.
Whitley has a good amount of development to go, but his present fastball would allow him to effectively profile in a major league bullpen at some point if the whole starting thing doesn't work out.
Needs to develop his secondary pitches, like all prep guys with a killer fastball. Think Tyler Kolek from the Houston area a few years ago- you can have stunning fastball velocity, but breaking pitches are paramount to ever coming close to the majors.
Projected Draft Round
You could convince me that Whitley is the third-best prep pitcher behind Groome and Pint. There are a few other guys with some national helium, like Ian Anderson and Braxton Garrett, but Whitley should be right up there with that crew. I see Whitley as the fourth or fifth prep pitcher off the board from anywhere between picks 15-35.
Will he sign?
Whitley is committed to Florida State- draft industry guys thought he may entertain the idea of college, but if he wants to pass on the Freshman 15 and have a few million dollars, he should sign. Also, he wouldn't have to live in Florida.
Videos and Bibliography
(from The Prospect Pipeline)