The Houston Astros pitching staff cannot catch a break, and it extends from their potential ace down to the farm system.
Astros pitcher Forrest Whitley was the top pitching prospect in baseball as recently as 2016. Yet, injuries have set the 23-year-old back severely. Last season, Whitley was shut down early due to a forearm strain. Before that, he’d been sidelined with shoulder and oblique issues.
You can add potential Tommy John surgery to that list, an injury that could take up to 14-15 months to recover from.
Whitley has a right UCL sprain, a serious injury for any pitcher, especially one on the come up who’s of increased value to the Astros’ future. This points to the Astros being cautious, and at the very least shutting Whitley down until they can make a better judgement on long-term treatment.
Astros: Forrest Whitley may undergo Tommy John surgery
The words ‘Tommy John surgery’ have such a negative connotation these days, but in reality the procedure has been perfected to the point that pitchers often come back better than ever after an extended layoff. However, for Whitley and the Astros, it’s the layoff that’ll serve as a frustrating measure.
Whitley’s barely pitched the last few seasons, and this year was supposed to be a campaign when he finally made a significant Major League impact. Instead, the organization is left wondering if they can rely on a once untradable prospect to reach his full potential.
It doesn’t help this comes just days after Framber Valdez was declared out for the majority of the season with a fractured finger. Valdez, another young starter on this Astros pitching staff, was expected to lead the front end of their rotation moving forward.
Whitley joins Justin Verlander and Valdez on the mend.