The Astros 2016 first-round pick has had an incredible season in the minor leagues up to this point in 2017.
Fans either rejoiced or shook their lowered head in disappointment following this development. After all, the trade deadline was quite a divisive topic amongst the Houston fanbase. The thought was that either Whitley or Kyle Tucker could be leveraged in a trade for Jose Quintana or Sonny Gray.
Clearly, those ideas never came to fruition.
As of now, Whitley is a member of the Astros organization. And he is pitching like how a top prospect should.
2017 statistics (A-A+): 19 G (15 GS), 77.2 IP, 5-4 W-L, 3.01 ERA, 13.6 SO9, 3.5 BB9
Thanks to Whitley’s performance at the Single-A level, the Astros decided to promote the right-hander to Double-A.
Yes, Whitely is in his age-20 season and pitching for the Corpus Christi Hooks. This is impressive no matter how you slice it. The average age for Double-A players back in 2012 was roughly 24-years old. The data from 2012 is a bit outdated now, but you get the point.
Anyway, the former first-round pick made his Hooks debut last night against the Tulsa Drillers. Let’s just say his debut went about as well as anyone could hope.
6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K, 92 pitches-61 strikes
At this point in time, you can make the argument that Whitley is the best pitching prospect Houston has had in years. At least in the past decade, if not longer. The last time I remember feeling so confident about a pitching prospect was Roy Oswalt following his breakout 2000 season.
Stay tuned to Whitley, the 40th ranked prospect in baseball, as he is viewed as a possible ace of the future for the Astros. Simply put, there are some prospects you just don’t trade. And this 20-year old right-hander could be a textbook case.
**Statistics courtesy of MiLB.com and Baseball Reference**