Forrest Whitley feels more like an old folk legend than anything at this point in time. In 2019, he was going to be the next Randy Johnson, a player Jeff Luhnow refused to entertain in trade talks. He was Houston's no doubt future ace.
He dominated A-ball and AA-ball, posting a sub-3.00 ERA and over 13 strikeouts per nine at each stop. He was ranked as high as the fifth-best prospect in the MLB. With as many other prospects have debuted, what on earth happened to this one?
Thanks to injuries and a failed drug test, Whitley's upward trajectory was derailed. No longer can't miss, he posted a 6.53 ERA, walking 27 in only 40 innings of work in 2022. This may very well be the make or break year for Whitley.
In January, we made the case to convert Whitley to a reliever and let him harness his repertoire for an inning or two, tops. Whitley's raw stuff is simply too good not to play. If he could find a way to put it together as a starter, with the club control Houston has of Javier, Valdez, McCullers Jr., Garcia, Brown and Uqruidy, he'd be a transformative weapon.
His future as a starter is in doubt. If not now, when will it be for Whitley? He is definitely a player to watch in the spring.