In a statement released via Twitter, right-hander Rob Whalen announced his retirement from the game at just 25 years of age. He says he feels “God has other plans in store.”
Whalen cites his “battle with depression/anxiety over the last 2 years” as an underlying factor in his decision. Those interested in learning more about Whalen’s path can find his story here, as told to David Laurila of Fangraphs.
Drafted in the 12th round of the 2012 draft by the Mets, Whalen was eventually a part of two trades: the 2015 deal that sent Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe from the Braves to the Mets and the swap in the 2016-17 offseason in which Alex Jackson went to Atlanta. In both deals, Whalen was traded along with another young right-hander (John Gant in the former and Max Povse in the latter).
Whalen earned his way to the majors in 2016 with a strong showing in the upper minors, throwing 120 innings of 2.40 ERA ball with 8.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. Things have not gone well since, however, due in no small part to Whalen’s struggles with depression and anxiety. Ultimately, he saw action in each of the past three MLB seasons, pitching to a cumulative 5.75 ERA in 36 innings.
In his statement, Whalen says that he has “learned that [he] can have a fulfilling life outside of baseball.” MLBTR wishes him good fortune in doing just that.