Forrest Whitley has had a long and winding road since being drafted in 2016, but the Astros prospect is hoping that this is the year that it all comes together. After a suspension, a pandemic, and a series of injuries, including Tommy John surgery, the 6-foot-7-inch right-hander is back in Major League camp and looking to re-establish himself as a top prospect. In this blog post, we will take a look at Whitley’s journey and explore why 2021 could be his year to break through.
Whitley’s journey has been full of ups and downs. After the 2020 season was lost because of COVID-19, he missed all of 2021 following elbow surgery. Last year, he returned to action with three rehab starts at the lower levels of the Minor Leagues before finishing the season at Triple-A Sugar Land. He posted a 6.53 ERA in 40 innings, but his season ended when he was scratched prior to a start in September when he felt pain in the back of his shoulder.
Despite the setbacks, Whitley remains on Houston’s 40-man roster and is currently ranked as the team’s No. 10-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline. Prior to the 2021 season, he was ranked as the third-best right-hander in the Minor Leagues. But the expectations were high, and Whitley admits he didn’t handle it very well. He has since grown as a person, and is looking to put the ball down and prove himself in 2021.
Whitley has taken steps to establish a solid base outside of baseball, buying a house in the Houston area and getting engaged. He’s also been putting in the work on the mound, trying to get a ton of skill acquisition and get off the mound as much as possible. He’s feeling comfortable and ready to show what he’s got.
This year could be a big one for Forrest Whitley, who could finally close the gap between Constellation Field and Minute Maid Park. With a solid base, a renewed focus, and a healthy arm, the Astros prospect is ready to show what he’s capable of. Be sure to follow his journey this season and see if 2021 is the year it all comes together for Forrest Whitley.