To begin, Whitley was a highly touted pitching prospect. Now, he is one of baseball’s most intriguing figures.
When the Astros picked him 16th overall in the 2016 Draft out of a Texas high school, he appeared to be on the verge of making his big league debut in 2017.
Because of his 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League drug program, minor oblique and lat injuries (2018), right shoulder inflammation and command issues (2019), pandemic shutdown and elbow soreness in 2020, Tommy John surgery (2021) that will sideline him until mid-2022, as well as the pandemic shutdown, he has missed nearly all of his success since then.
Whitley has five pitches that could be considered a plus or better when he was healthy and performing at his peak. A changeup with fade and depth that ranks among the finest in the Minors is his best weapon.
His fastball, which can reach 92-99 mph with cut and sink, is also among his top tools.
Low-80s downer curveball, mid-80s slider with late bite, and a low-90s cutter were some of the other pitches that some scouts had rated higher than either of his breaking balls.
Houston had Whitley make some mechanical tweaks during his final extended run of pitching in 2019 so that he could maintain a better upper-body posture to lessen stress on his shoulder and increase his ability to deliver strikes.
Some club executives are hoping that after an elbow reconstruction, he can return to the field with more control and command.
Despite the fact that he still has more potential than any other pitcher in the organization, he also has a wide range of outcomes.
What’s Going On With Forrest Whitley?
After a year out due to the pandemic, Whitley was sidelined for the rest of the year owing to injuries. Whitley’s Tommy John surgery has put him on the sidelines till the beginning of 2022.
The most important MLB Pipeline lists have all but forgotten about him, thus his future is nothing but a massive question mark.