Whitley underwent Tommy John elbow surgery Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Whitley felt discomfort in the elbow while throwing live batting practice earlier this month and could not avoid surgery. He faces a 12-to-14 month recovery period and could possibly pitch during the second half of 2022.
The Astros optioned Whitley (elbow) to their minor-league camp Sunday, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports.
Whitley's demotion was merely procedural, as the right-handed pitching prospect is already slated to miss the entire 2021 season due to his impending Tommy John surgery. Due to the timing of his procedure, Whitley will more than likely miss the first half of the 2022 campaign as well.
Whitley will undergo Tommy John surgery, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Whitley was told by a doctor over the weekend that he'd require Tommy John surgery, and manager Dusty Baker revealed Wednesday that he received a second opinion that confirmed the prognosis. Whitley won't pitch until 2022 as a result, and the right-hander has thrown just 86 innings since the start of the 2018 campaign due to a suspension and various injuries.
Whitley has been told by a doctor that he'll need Tommy John surgery, Mark Berman of KRIV Fox 26 reports.
Whitley experienced some arm soreness during a recent simulated game and has since been diagnosed with a right UCL sprain, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. It's the latest in a long line of setbacks for the talented 23-year-old, who's thrown just 86 innings since the start of the 2018 season due to a suspension and multiple injuries. It had looked as though he was on the doorstep of making his big-league debut, especially after Framber Valdez fractured his finger, but it now looks as if he won't pitch in any capacity until the middle of next year. He'll get a second opinion, the results of which should be known within a few days, before going through with the procedure.
Whitley threw a simulated game and, per manager Dusty Baker, "came up sore," Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Baker did not disclose any other details on Whitley's status, but this report certainly provides reason for concern, and it will presumably alter Whitley's throwing program to some degree.
Whitley cleared COVID-19 intake testing and joined the Astros for workouts Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Whitley missed just under a week of camp, so he shouldn't be too far behind the rest of the Houston pitching staff in the ramp-up process for the start of the season. The 23-year-old is still waiting for his first big-league call-up, as he missed out on a potential promotion last summer while battling an arm injury. He's back to full health for the start of spring training, but Whitley will likely have to impress at Triple-A Sugar Land to begin the season before Houston gives him a trial in the big-league rotation.
Whitley's arrival to camp is delayed due to COVID-19 intake procedures, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Players underwent a PCR and antibody test upon reporting for spring training and is now required to observe a five-day quarantine period. It was previously unclear what had caused Whitley's delayed arrival, and given this news, it's now expected the 23-year-old will be available within a matter of days.
Whitley (arm) has yet to arrive at spring training, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Whitley is currently in West Palm Beach, but he hasn't yet reported to camp for an unspecified reason. Manager Dusty Baker said that his late arrival isn't related to the arm issue that sidelined him for most of the 2020 season, but it's not yet clear when he'll join the team. If he's fully healthy, Whitley could make his major-league debut at some point in 2021.
Whitley (arm) was added to the Astros' 40-man roster Friday, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports.
General manager James Click told Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle that Whitley has been working out and the team expects him to be healthy for the start of spring training, but as with any pitcher who ended the season with an arm injury, we should wait until he is throwing in spring games before taking that as gospel. Whitley was an obvious player to protect from the Rule 5 draft, but he is coming off a pretty disappointing season, as he was looking as good as he has in years before coming down with an arm injury early at the alternate training site. Health permitting, this could be the year that he finally makes his big-league debut.
Whitley (arm) has yet to resume throwing at the Astros' alternate training site, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports.
He is still working out, but there has been no word on his diagnosis after visiting a doctor earlier this month after he reported some arm discomfort. Even if he eventually gets back to 100 percent without needing surgery, he has likely missed his window to contribute at the big-league level in 2020.
Whitley (arm) will be seen by a doctor before the Astros map out their next move, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Whitley was shut down last week with arm soreness, and the Astros want to take a measured approach with their top pitching prospect. The right-hander has dealt with injuries since 2018.
Whitley has battled arm discomfort both during summer camp and during recent throwing sessions at the Astros' secondary training site, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Whitley's bad luck continues, as he battled shoulder problems for much of last season and struggled to a 7.99 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP over 59.2 innings across four levels when he was able to take the mound. The Astros have far more than their fair share of injuries to their pitching staff at the moment, which would theoretically provide an opportunity for Whitley to make his big-league debut, but he'll need to prove both his health and effectiveness before earning that chance, and it's not clear when he'll be able to do either one.
Whitley did not make the Opening Day roster.
General manager James Click said that Whitley is "maintaining a lot of the improvements I've seen from him," according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. There are undoubtedly some service-time considerations at play, but the Astros are also going to be careful not to throw their top prospect into the fire until they believe he is ready to have success. He should get fully stretched out at the alternate training site but is not a lock to debut in 2020.
Whitley threw live batting practice at the main camp at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Whitley, who has spent time at both the main and alternate camps, will not be part of the 30-man active roster when the regular season starts. As such, he will spend the season in the player pool, which will shift activities to Corpus Christi on July 24.
Whitley is part of the Astros' player pool working out at the alternate camp on the campus of the University of Houston, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Whitley, the team's top prospect, is expected to stay at the University of Houston through July 24 before heading to Corpus Christi when the regular season begins.
Whitley is part of the Astros' 60-man player pool.
Whitley may not make it to the eventual 30-man roster (or three-man taxi squad), but the Astros want their top pitching prospect to get work in as part of the extended roster.
Astros pitching coach Brent Strom said Tuesday that he expects Whitley to be assigned to Triple-A Fresno to begin the 2020 season, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
This was the expectation, but Strom essentially confirmed that the team's top pitching prospect is not in the hunt for a spot in the Opening Day rotation. "And when it's right, it'll happen, but I don't think right now I would consider him, you know, a viable candidate [for the No. 5 spot]." Whitley struggled to a 12.21 ERA in eight appearances at the Triple-A level last year while battling through shoulder fatigue. He returned late in the calendar year, putting up an impressive 32:9 K:BB in 25 innings in the Arizona Fall League. Whitley is in camp with the big-league squad.
Whitley was invited to the Astros' big-league camp Tuesday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
A first-round pick back in 2016, Whitley endured a tough 2019 campaign. In 11 starts for Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock last season, he posted a 9.00 ERA and 1.85 WHIP while featuring a 29.5 percent strikeout rate and 15.43 percent walk rate. With just five of those starts coming at the Triple-A level, the highly rated prospect likely needs some more minor-league experience before he's ready to push for a big-league roster spot.
Whitley, who took a no-hitter into the fifth inning of his 2019 Arizona Fall League debut, attributed a lot of his woes this season to trying to make some necessary mechanical adjustments that he hopes will ease the stress on his shoulder going forward, Jim Callis of MLB.com reports. "I'm getting a lot more comfortable with the newer delivery, throwing a lot more strikes as of late, bullpen [sessions] have been really solid lately," Whitley said.
He missed seven weeks with shoulder fatigue this year, which is what led to the mechanical tweaks that he says resulted in some growing pains that will be worth it in the long run. Whitley is working on maintaining a better posture in is upper body, and it is understandably not an overnight fix when adjusting a delivery that he has been using for the past seven years. He struck out six while allowing one hit and two walks in 4.2 innings for Peoria over the weekend. Whitley is simply too talented to struggle for much longer if his health cooperates. He won't make the big-league rotation out of spring training, but if his mechanical adjustments pay off, he could spend a good chunk of 2020 in the majors.
Whitley will throw in the Arizona Fall League, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
The Astros' top pitching prospect has endured a season plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness. Whitley pitched to a 12.21 ERA over his first eight starts before the organization sent him to Florida for a two-month reset, a period during which he was on the minor-league injured list with right shoulder fatigue. Since his return to full-season affiliates, the right-hander has been inconsistent, posting a 4.94 ERA over six starts for Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Round Rock.
|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
|2017||AFX-Quad Cities River Ba||46.1||12||10||0||2||3||0||67||21||42||2.93||1.367|
|2017||AFA-Buies Creek Astros||31.1||7||6||0||3||1||0||50||9||28||3.18||1.190|
|2017||AA-Corpus Christi Hooks||14.2||4||2||0||0||0||0||26||4||8||1.90||0.845|
|2018||AAX-Corpus Christi Hooks||26.1||8||8||0||0||2||0||34||11||15||3.79||0.996|
|2019||AAX-Corpus Christi Hooks||22.2||6||6||0||2||2||0||36||19||18||5.68||1.667|
|2019||AAA-Round Rock Express||24.1||8||5||0||0||3||0||29||15||35||12.32||2.075|