The Astros have announced the signing of first-round draft choice Forrest Whitley, via MLB.com. He’ll receive a $3.148MM bonus, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). Whitley was taken 17th overall, which came with a $2,504,200 slot allocation.
A high school righty hailing from Texas, Whitley was a consensus top-twenty prospect entering the draft. MLB.com had him highest on its board, ranking him 12th on the basis of his outstanding results in a competitive environment and promising set of pitches. The towering hurler brings a mid-nineties fastball, power curve, and improving change-up.
ESPN.com ranked Whitley the 13th-best draft prospect available, while Baseball America was also quite bullish on his outlook in placing him 18th. None of the outlets really expressed any concerns, though the ESPN.com team suggested that there’s less to dream on than may be the case for other top young arms. As they put it, Whitley has “a fourth starter’s arsenal and a workhorse build,” but “there’s no projection here and Whitley has some stiffness and effort to his delivery.”
After several years worth of drafts in which the club was among the first in line and carried deep draft pockets, Houston fell back in the order due to its successful 2015 season. The resultant maneuvering was certainly less interesting as a result, as the team has thus far agreed to at-slot deals with second-rounder Ronnie Dawson and third-round pick Jake Rogers, but the organization also managed to avoid intrigue this time around. None of the team’s other reported signings have skewed too dramatically from the mean, though the ’Stros managed to stash some savings in order to add to the pile of cash headed Whitley’s way.