The Houston Astros haven’t seen Forrest Whitley pitch in front of them in over a year now. Tommy John surgery canceled the right-hander’s 2021 season, after watching the prior season go to waste due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whitley, now 24-years-old, embarks on an unknown season, that he will not be ready for by Opening Day. The hurler is obviously starting the season in the minor leagues, likely in Triple-A if an accelerated rehab assignment isn’t needed.
While on the 40-man roster, Whitley remains locked out by Major League Baseball owners as of Wednesday morning. And without a Collective Bargaining Agreement, Whitley cannot work with the Astros trainers and coaches in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Although away from spring training, we still get a glimpse of Astros prospect Forrest Whitley throwing off a mound.
Whitley cannot be at spring training, so he is pitching off a mound at DST Houston to former Astros bullpen catcher Carlos Muñoz. Tampa Bay Rays starter Shane Baz is the first to come off the rubber in Muñoz’s video.
After not pitching competitively for over a year, Whitley is touching 91 mph in this bullpen at DST Houston, which has been a familiar facility for Astros prospects. The organization recently signed right-hander Palmer Wenzel, following velocity and movement increases at DST Houston.
Whitley’s last season came in 2019, when the righty threw 59.2 innings across four different levels of Minor League Baseball. With injuries and a suspension halting his progressions, Whitley still posted a 13 strikeout per nine innings in 2019.
"“I wouldn’t say the adversity has helped me grow as a baseball player, it’s allowed me to look at things through a different lens which has helped me grow as a man,” Whitley told Astros Future in November. “I used to be so fixated on what other people said about me, it kind of drove me mad without me realizing it.”"