The Houston Astros organization will be without their top prospect for 50 games due to a drug violation.
MLB announced Wednesday morning that Houston Astros pitching prospect Forrest Whitley has been suspended for 50 games for violating a minor league drug prevention program.
MLB announces Astros top prospect Forrest Whitley has been suspended 50 games for a violation of the minor-league drug prevention program.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 21, 2018
Whitley is not only regarded as the Astros’ best prospect, but one of the top prospects in all of baseball right now. At the moment, it’s not officially known what drug Whitley tested positive for. But Chuck Miketinac of Fox San Antonio reports from a source that it may have been some sort of stimulant, and not necessarily a performance-enhancer.
Can confirm @Buster_ESPN report. Forrest Whitley suspended for 50 games. Source tells me Whitley was at an out of state college baseball game as a fan after his season was over and was given an unknown stimulant by a friend in order to help keep him awake on his long drive home.
— Chuck Miketinac (@MaxSportsSA) February 21, 2018
The defending champion Astros are heavy favorites to win the World Series again this season. But losing Whitley to this suspension is a rather significant blow, as there was a good chance he could’ve been called up at some point during the year.
Whitely, 20, was drafted by Houston in the first round, 17th overall in 2016 out of Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio, Texas. At three different levels in the minor leagues in 2017, the right-hander went 5-4 with a 2.83 ERA with an impressive 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings over the course of 92 1/3 innings pitched. He’s slated to start the 2018 season with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks.
It’s unfortunate for the Astros, as Whitley will likely not make his major league debut this season.