Astros top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley will undergo Tommy John surgery, manager Dusty Baker announced on Wednesday.
Whitley, 23, began experiencing discomfort in his right elbow while throwing live batting practice last week at Astros camp in West Palm Beach, Fla. The No. 41-ranked prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, Whitley hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game this year.
The injury is the latest setback for the 2016 first-round pick, who was added to the 40-man roster this year and came to camp looking to establish himself after a series of setbacks the last few years.
In 2019, Whitley posted a 7.99 ERA in four Minor League levels, including 12.21 at Triple-A Round Rock before being placed on the injured list with shoulder fatigue. In 2018, he was suspended 50 games for a violation of the Minor League drug prevention and treatment program and sustained two oblique injuries. He appeared in only 23 games across three levels, posting a 2.92 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 92 1/3 innings.
Whitley won't pitch again until 2022, making it two consecutive seasons without game action after the Minor League season was canceled last year.