Forrest Whitley had light-hearted response to 2024 goals that'll greatly help Astros

Astros fans have been patiently waiting for Forrest Whitley's MLB debut.

Houston Astros starting pitcher Forrest Whitley (60) throws
Houston Astros starting pitcher Forrest Whitley (60) throws / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

If you think Forrest Whitley has been one of the Houston Astros' highest-rated prospects for years, you'd be right. The former first-round pick has been in the Astros farm system since he was taken with the 17th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Whitley has yet to make his major league debut.

Whitley has gone through a number of setbacks throughout his professional career. The right-hander made great strides his first two seasons in the Astros organization, but then the wheels came off. In 2018, Whitely was suspended for violating MLB's drug prevention program.

Whitley was added to the Astros 40-man roster following the 2020 season, but underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021. That was followed by rehab, then a lat strain in 2023, all of which have seen Whitely spending more time in the trainer's room that the field the past several years. But Whitley's New Year's resolution will make Astros fans smile, and hopefully help his team win some games in 2024.

Forrest Whitley’s goals for 2024 could be huge boost for Astros pitching staff

Whitley spoke with reporters this week and sad that his New Year's resolution for 2024 is to avoid receiving any MRIs this season. That sounds like a good plan after only pitching in 70 innings since 2019.

Whitley came out of spring training unscathed last year and it felt as though his time to shine had arrived. The Astros sent him to Triple-A to begin the year, and while his numbers weren't terrific, just being on the mound was a plus. Then came the lat injury that completely derailed any hope of Whitley joining the Astros rotation midseason.

Whitley still has one minor-league option remaining, so if push comes to shove and the Astros choose to send the 26-year-old down to Triple-A to begin the 2024 season, they won't have to pass him through waivers in order to do so.

While it would seem as though Whitley is on the outside looking in at the moment in terms of snagging a spot in the starting rotation, Justin Verlander has already suffered a minor hiccup this spring and two of Houston's top starters (Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr.) will be out of commission until after the All-Star break.

Whitley has never made his major league dream come true, and he'd love nothing more than to break through in 2024 and pitch in some meaningful games for the Astros. If he sticks to his New Year's resolution, his chances of achieving that are fairly high.