The Houston Astros have learned that Forrest Whitley, one of their top prospects, will miss the first 50 games of the minor league season because of a violation of the drug program in the minor leagues. He’s had an incredible surge of success so what will give? Take a look.
The Houston Astros will now have to deal with not having their No. 1 prospect — as per Baseball America — for first 50 games of the minor league season. He’s ranked 10th overall among MLB prospects.
Forrest Whitley was on an incredible tear in his career and he’s certainly a prospect that is ready to be called up. If the Houston Astros weren’t so deep with their staff to begin with and such a successful team, he would’ve been up already.
Jeff Luhnow even mentioned earlier this week that Whitley was in strong consideration of making his major league debut this past September. But because the Houston Astros were good with needs and they want to maximize the time of club control that they’ll have on Whitley, I’m sure this notion had some push back.
Buster Olney of ESPN had this interesting news to break:
It would be expected that he’d be suspended without pay for such a violation to which will be thousands upon thousands of dollars. I’d really like to know what he took as well as hear his side of story. Will he appeal the decision? We’re going to find out that out as well but the news of this is absolutely shocking.
Chuck Miketinac of FOX San Antonio (KABB) gave more insight to the situation:
He also does confirm that the Whitley’s camp does plan to appeal MLB’s decision:
And here’s where the plot thickens. With Whitley hiring legal representation, it certainly means that there’s going to be a battle coming up. Miketinac also writes that this should be viewed as a
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eight-game suspension because he’s not a position player and was only due to pitch every six days or so. But regardless, we’ll have a bit of drama on our hands as time progresses.
Whitley came on strong last season, throwing the heat on regular basis, topping around 95 mph on the gun. His heat was overpowering opponents left-and-right allowing for his quick ascent through the farm. Did I mention he’s only 20-years-old? It was expected that he’d be a part of the Fresno Grizzlies, our Triple-A ball club to start out the season.
The Houston Astros selected the 6’7,” righty flame-thrower in Whitley as the 17th pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft out of Alamo Heights High in San Antonio.
We’ll find out more as time goes on but it will be interesting to see what the end game will be.
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Whitley posted a 5-4 record, a 2.83 ERA, tossing 143 strikeouts, a pretty damn good 1.213 WHIP, 13.9 K/9 through 92.1 innings pitched in 23 games — 18 starts — with the Quad Cities River Bandits, Buies Creek Astros and the Corpus Christi Hooks.