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Scott Rolen elected to Baseball Hall of Fame (apnews.com)
10 MLB Stars Who Are Candidates to Retire After 2023 Season (bleacherreport.com)
Oops! All Astros: Forrest Whitley
Forrest Whitley is a six-foot-seven, 238 lb. right-handed starting pitcher from San Antonio, TX. Born on September 15, 1997, he was Houston’s first-round choice in 2016 out of Alamo Heights HS. Thirty-six players taken 17th overall as Whitley have made the majors, led by 1995 pick Hall of Famer Roy Halladay (64.2 WAR). He signed with the Astros for a $3,148,000 bonus.
Whitley, who is currently Houston’s number 10 prospect, has a five pitch arsenal which all grade at 55 or better on the 80-point scout’s scale. According to MLB Pipeline:
His best weapons were his fastball, which ranges from 92-99 mph with cut and sink, and his mid-80s changeup, which features fade and depth and ranked among the best in the Minors. He also showed a low-80s downer curveball, a mid-80s slider with late bite and a low-90s cutter that some scouts believed was better than either of his breaking balls.
Whitley has struggled to get through Houston’s minor league system without incident. He’s suffered a variety of ailments, including Tommy John Surgery in 2021. He’s also violated the Minor League drug policy, resulting in a 50-game suspension.
This season, Whitley made his first rehab start with the FCL Astros Blue on June 16, walking two, striking out two, and giving up three earned runs on three hits in an 11-6 loss to the FCL Nationals. He was much better in his two rehab starts with the Low-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers, allowing one hit over five shutout innings and walking zero with seven strikeouts. All signs were pointing towards this long-gestation period finally coming to completion. Whitley was then promoted to the Triple-A level with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys.
Whitley made 10 appearances with Sugar Land, including eight starts. His best was on August 21 in a 5-4 win over the Oklahoma City Dodgers, when he struck out five over as many innings, earning no decision by allowing one run on three hits and two walks.
At the Triple-A level, Whitley kept opponents to a .250/.376/.367 slashline and a 7.09 ERA over 33 innings. He struck out 36 and walked 25 of the 158 batters he faced. Of the 630 pitches he threw, 61 percent ended up over the plate. Look for him in Houston’s big league Spring Training, and to make a major league debut sometime in 2023.