On Wednesday, Chuck Miketinac reported that Houston Astros prospect Forrest Whitley will have season ending Tommy John surgery, after a UCL sprain. The procedure will be done in Dallas within the next 10 days, and his rehab will then begin at the Astros’ facilities.
For a pitcher who can’t catch a break with injuries and a lousy suspension, we can only hope that Whitley bounces back. The right-hander was ranked as the Astros’ top prospect once again by MLB Pipeline, but his overall value is dropping on many lists due to these injuries.
What is the next move for the Astros after Whitley’s injury?
After Framber Valdez’s finger injury, the ball club is dealing with the loss of needed depth in Whitley, even after the signing of Jake Odorizzi. While not knowing the timetable on Valdez, the front office will have the opportunity to free open two 40-man roster slots by moving these two to the injured list, but this will manipulate the service time of both players. For someone like Whitley, he hasn’t reached the major leagues yet at 23-years-old, so this will go against him and the team in the end.
Moving forward, the Astros will have to look to Bryan Abreu and Luis Garcia for rotation depth this season, although this was the perfect stage for Whitley. These right-handers are expected to make an impact this season, and if Odorizzi isn’t ready by Opening Day, one of these prospects will most likely start on the 26-man roster.
Four other Astros players are expected to make healthy returns to the field soon. Yordan Alvarez, who is recovering from knee surgeries, is progressing faster than Alex Bregman and could make his 2021 spring training debut early next week. Right-handed pitchers Josh James and Austin Pruitt will be in West Palm Beach next week, after recovering from their respected injuries. Catcher Jason Castro, who is mentoring prospect Korey Lee, has also been out since Mar. 2, but is now back at practice. These guys are all expected to play next week.