Astros pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than three weeks and they will be joined by Forrest Whitley and 18 other non-roster invitees.
Every season prospects that aren’t on the Astros 40-man roster are invited to participate in spring training and given the chance to showcase their talent. This year 19 players were selected to travel to West Palm Beach, Florida, and top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley will once again head up the group of non-roster invitees.
This will be Whitley’s second trip to Fitteam Ballpark after making the list of invitees to last season’s spring training. But this year may just be the #1 prospect’s season to make that jump up to the big leagues. There looks to be a hotly contested battle for a spot or two at the end of the Astros starting rotation this time around.
Last season, Whitley had a decent showing in spring training going 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA and striking out 17 batters in 15 innings of work. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t room for him in the rotation to start out the season. So he began the year with the AAA ballclub in hopes of possibly getting called up later in the season. Whitley had his struggles in the minors and that never occurred.
Along with Whitley, there will be seven other pitchers, three catchers, four outfielders, and four infielders making the trip to Florida. The pitchers joining Whitley are right-handers Brandon Bielak, Brendan McCurry, Dean Deetz, Riley Ferrell, Ralph Garza Jr., and Andre Scrubb. Ryan Hartman will be the lone lefty of the group.
The outfielders attending will be Ronnie Dawson, Drew Ferguson, Chas McCormick, and Stephen Wrenn. Alex De Goti, Osvaldo Duarte, Jeremy Pena, and Nick Tanielu are the infielders making the trip. The three catchers are Lorenzo Quintana, Jamie Ritchie, and Chuckie Robinson.
It’s very rare for non-roster invitees to start the season in the majors, but it seems every year a few will make the leap later in the season. Look what Yordan Alvarez accomplished in 2019. In any case, it’s always fun to see how these youngsters fair in spring training and to get a glimpse of some future Astros.