Most have heard by now, but in an effort to wait for more accurate information, this site is only just bringing you the news that Houston Astros top prospect Forrest Whitley has been suspended for 50 games by the Commissioner’s Office for violating the Drug Abuse policy.
The Astros’ Forrest Whitley, one of baseball’s best pitching prospects, has been suspended 50 games without pay for a violation of the minor-league drug program.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 21, 2018
Note that the drug (which has not, as of this writing, been named) in use resulted in a 50 game suspension - not the 80 game one reserved for Performance Enhancing Drugs - and that it is believed to be some kind of stimulant that he used once, after his season was over, on an overnight trip as a fan to see a sporting event.
Can confirm @Buster_ESPN report. Forrest Whitley suspended for 50 games. Source tells me Whitley was at an out of state college baseball game as a fan after his season was over and was given an unknown stimulant by a friend in order to help keep him awake on his long drive home.— Chuck Miketinac (@MaxSportsSA) February 21, 2018
That should not be construed as implying that it’s acceptable, but it is important to this writer to be very clear about exactly what this appears to have been, based on the facts as they are known: a dumb thing done by a young man who will hopefully learn his lesson the way that other greats have before him.
Nobody should forget that Ken Caminiti, Jeff Bagwell, and Craig Biggio all had DUIs as young pro players.— Jason Marbach (@TheArmoryBand) February 21, 2018
Just saying. It’s not okay, but it’s not the end of the world, either. It’ll save his arm some for later in the season.#Astros #Whitley
The suspension will begin immediately this season and last through the Corpus Christi Hooks’ 50th game. Assuming he’s ready to go, the 51st game of the season is on May 29th. This suspension should not affect Whitley’s eligibility for a postseason roster...
It shouldn’t affect his eligibility for a postseason roster.— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) February 21, 2018
...though, as Jake notes in a subsequent tweet, this could ostensibly delay Whitley’s debut until 2019. No way to know, at this point.
This story is ongoing and will be updated as new information is learned, so please check back!