Astros: Forrest Whitley shines in Arizona Fall League

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SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: Starting pitcher AFL East All-Star, Forrest Whitley #11 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch during the first inning of the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
SURPRISE, AZ - NOVEMBER 03: Starting pitcher AFL East All-Star, Forrest Whitley #11 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch during the first inning of the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Astros pitching prospect Forrest Whitley is strutting his stuff in the Arizona Fall League and looking more like a top pitching prospect again.

The AFL gives players a chance to show off their skills in hopes of stepping up the ladder of their team’s Minor League system. In the case Astros pitcher Whitley, it’s a great opportunity for him to hone his skills and get in some additional playing experience. Whatever the case may be, he seems to be taking full advantage of it.

Forrest Whitley, still the #1 prospect for the Astros, was widely expected to possibly be called up to the big leagues at some point this year. Things didn’t quite turn out the way everyone had hoped for the 22-year-old hurler.

After a horrid start to the 2019 season with the AAA Round Rock Express, Whitley was put on the Minor League Injured List for shoulder fatigue. He was sent down to the Astros Spring Training facility to rehab. Following over a month and a half of downtime, Whitley began seeing live-action again. He started out with a couple of games with the Gulf Coast Rookie League and then moved up to the A+ Carolina League for two games.

The remainder of the season was spent at the AA level with the Corpus Christi Hooks. Whitley began to show some signs of getting back to his successful ways. Although he still had an ERA of 5.09 since his return from the IL, it was a huge improvement from his 12.21 ERA he had in his first eight games before he was temporarily shut down.

Whitley has had two starts and 9.1 innings of work thus far in the Arizona Fall League and is looking great pitching against some of the top Minor League players. He has surrendered just one earned run, three hits, and one walk. He’s carrying a 0.96 ERA and a WHIP of 0.54 while leading the entire league with 14 strikeouts.

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This is a great experience for Whitley and should help build his confidence back up. All we can do is hope that this carries over into next season. Maybe his Major League debut was just delayed a bit and we’ll see him wearing an Astros uniform sometime in 2020.

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