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The Houston Astros’ No. 1 prospect, right-handed pitcher Forrest Whitley, will have to wait awhile for his season to start. On Wednesday, Major League Baseball announced that Whitley has been suspended for 50 games without pay for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Forrest Whitley, the Astros’ No. 1 prospect, suspended 50 games for drug violation. pic.twitter.com/oAh0wZBOcs
— Big League Stew (@bigleaguestew) February 21, 2018
Whitley isn’t just the top prospect on the Astros, he’s one of the top prospects in all of baseball. The 20-year-old was drafted 17th overall in 2016, and has shot up through the Astros’ organization. He traversed three levels in 2017, starting at Single-A. He was promoted to High-A in late June, and after making seven appearances over a month, he was promoted to Double-A. Across all three levels, Whitley had an ERA of 2.83, and struck out 143 hitters in 92.1 innings.
Whitley is the third Astros prospect of the offseason to be suspended for violating the minor league drug prevention program. Jonathan Singleton was suspended for testing positive for a drug of abuse, and Dean Deetz was suspended for testing positive for a performance enhancing substance.
There’s no information on what drug popped on Whitley’s test, but a reporter out of San Antonio (Whitley’s hometown) is reporting that it was a stimulant.
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
Before the suspension, it was likely that Whitley would have gotten a late-season call-up to the majors if he continued to mow down hitters. Now with the 50 game suspension, he’ll probably spend the entire 2018 season in the minors.
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