Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

Whitley finishes AFL with 2.88 ERA

October 25, 2019

Seven Astros prospects are playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the 2019 Arizona Fall League: Right-hander Forrest Whitley (No. 1, MLB No. 16), shortstop Jeremy Pena (No. 8), first baseman J.J. Matijevic (No. 17), right-hander Cody Deason, right-hander Carlos Sanabria, catcher Colton Shaver and right-hander Jojanse Torres.

Seven Astros prospects are playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the 2019 Arizona Fall League: Right-hander Forrest Whitley (No. 1, MLB No. 16), shortstop Jeremy Pena (No. 8), first baseman J.J. Matijevic (No. 17), right-hander Cody Deason, right-hander Carlos Sanabria, catcher Colton Shaver and right-hander Jojanse Torres.

AFL news and video | Astros Top 30 Prospects

Here’s a day-by-day look at how Houston's AFL contingent is faring:

Oct. 25: Salt River 6, Peoria 1
Forrest Whitley pitched to mixed results in his final Fall League start, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits in four innings for Peoria. The Astros’ top prospect struck out three batters but struggled with his control in the outing, as he issued three walks and threw just 45 of 81 pitches for strikes. Whitley was scored upon in three of the four frames, as Salt River got him for one run (unearned) in the first, one in the third and two in the fourth, when Whitley issued a two-out walk followed by a two-run homer to Brian Serven, the Rafters’ nine-hole hitter. He did run his fastball up to 96 mph in the outing, and also generated a swinging strike with two of the six curveballs he threw.

After dominating at the outset of this year’s Fall League -- 0.63 ERA, 20/2 K/BB in 14 1/3 innings (three starts) -- Whitley recorded a 5.91 ERA with 12/7 K/BB across his final three turns and 10 2/3 frames. Altogether, the 22-year-old right-hander compiled a 2.88 ERA and 32/7 K/BB in 25 innings for the Javelinas. Carlos Sanabria worked a scoreless sixth inning, striking out two batters and walking one.

Oct. 24: Glendale 2, Peoria 1
Jeremy Pena’s batting average dipped to .189 following an 0-for-5 performance. J.J. Matijevic also had a tough night at the plate, finishing 0-for-4. Colton Shaver also went 0-for-3.

Oct. 23: Peoria 6, Scottsdale 1
Jeremy Pena, hitting atop the Peoria lineup, went hitless in each of his first two at-bats, but ended the game on a high note and he doubled in the fourth to drive in a run and singled in the sixth to bring home another. Pena also scored a run as a part of one of his more productive days at the plate this fall, as he's now batting only .200 for the season.

J.J. Matijevic has driven in four runs over the past two days after picking up an RBI single in the first inning Wednesday. Matiejevic, who finished 1-for-4, is batting .271 with 17 RBIs through 25 AFL contests. Colton Shaver got back in the hit column after going a combined 0-for-8 over his past two games. Although Shaver struck out in each of his final two at-bats, he drew a walk in the first inning and added a double in the third.

Oct. 22: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 21: Peoria 4, Scottsdale 3
J.J. Matijevic hammered a ball with a 100.2 mph exit velocity in the first, just to see it snagged by the first baseman and result in an inning-ending double play. He did not miss in his second at-bat as he launched a gargantuan blast to right-center field, plating three runs with one swing. He would finish 1-for-5, but his round-tripper was the difference-maker in the Javelinas’ victory.

Jeremy Pena turned a solid double play from third base despite a slight bobble to polish off the second frame, before following it up with a leadoff single to kick off the third. He also added his second stolen base of the fall in the seventh during a 1-for-4 evening which also included a walk. The duo of Cody Deason and Jojanse Torres covered the final three innings for Peoria, with Deason wriggling off the hook in the eighth to escape a two-man-on, one-out conundrum. Deason has now reeled off five consecutive scoreless innings for the Javelinas, while Torres recorded his third save of the Fall League.

Oct. 20: Mesa 8, Peoria 2
Carlos Sanabria got roughed up pitching out of the Peoria ‘pen. Sanabria threw 1 1/3 innings, but was on the hook for three runs, three hits and a walk. J.J. Matijevic’s average dipped to .276 after his second consecutive 0-for-4 showing. Jeremy Pena and Colton Shaver were also hitless as each prospect went 0-for-4.

Oct. 19: Mesa 5, Peoria 1
Astros top prospect Forrest Whitley allowed his first home runs in the Fall League but still completed five innings for the second time in his past three starts for Peoria. Whitley didn’t give up a hit until the third inning, when Jo Adell tagged him for a long solo homer, and Jared Young took him deep to open the fifth. Whitley would allow three singles and a sacrifice fly before finishing the fifth frame. Altogether, he allowed three runs on five hits, while posting two walks against four strikeouts on 72 pitches (43 strikes). In five Fall League starts, Whitley has pitched to a 2.14 ERA and 29/7 K/BB ratio across 21 innings. Jeremy Pena and J.J. Matijevic made up the Nos. 2 and 3 slots in the Peoria batting order, but combined to go 0-for-8 with a pair of strikeouts Saturday. Pena’s average dipped down to .192, while Matijevic remains third in the league in hits (24).

Oct. 18: Peoria 9, Salt River 0
J.J. Matijevic’s third AFL homer was a ninth-inning solo shot to left center field that had an exit velocity of 106.2 mph. The dinger highlighted a big day at the plate for the Astros’ No. 17 prospect, who finished 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored from the three spot in Peoria’s lineup. He’s having a strong campaign in the desert, batting .304 with 24 hits and 13 RBIs through 21 games. Jeremy Pena, who batted second and started at shortstop, scored a run in a 1-for-5 performance, while catcher Colton Shaver finished 0-for-4 with a sacrifice fly. They’re batting .203 and .182, respectively, for the Javelinas.

Oct. 17: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 16: Salt River 4, Peoria 2
Colton Shaver was alert defensively at catcher, picking off Vidal Brujan and Royce Lewis at first and second base, respectively. He also scored one of the Javelinas’ two runs with an RBI single, finishing 1-for-4. J.J. Matijevic hit a single and swiped a base in a 1-for-4 day as Peoria’s DH.

Cody Deason worked two scoreless innings out of Peoria’s bullpen, pitching around a hit and two walks. He struck out three batters in the outing. Jojanse Torres bounced back from a rough outing (4 R in 1 IP) by catching two batters looking at strikes in a perfect ninth inning.

Oct 15: Surprise 3, Peoria 0
J.J. Matijevic went 0-for-1 but drew a pair of walks in Peoria’s loss to Surprise. He’s produced a .306 average through 19 games this fall. Colton Shaver went 0-for-1 with a walk. Carlos Sanabria was tagged for two runs (one earned) on two hits during an inning of relief.

Oct. 14: Surprise 1, Peoria 0
J.J. Matijevic laced a single to right field in the sixth, one of Peoria’s three hits on the evening. The club’s No. 17 prospect also drew a walk, raising his Fall League on-base percentage to .347 in the process. Colton Shaver finished 0-for-3, but if the box score could talk, it would mention his three line-drive outs. He has gone 1-for-11 over his last four games, but made solid contact Monday. Jeremy Pena was a late addition to the Javelinas lineup and took over in the leadoff spot, serving as the designated hitter. He went 0-for-2 before he was hit in the head with a pitch in the sixth. He walked off the field with the help of the club’s training staff and was promptly lifted from the game.

Oct. 13: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 12: East 4, West 2
Here's how every player performed in the Fall Stars Game. More »

Oct. 11: Peoria 8, Glendale 3
Forrest Whitley got the start for the Javelinas and showed off his electric right arm. All five outs that he recorded came via the strikeout, with his fastball ticking up as high as 97 mph. His curveball also had devastating depth, with a breaking pitch in the first registering more than 3,000 rpm. But around that, Whitley walked three, allowed two hits and tossed 58 pitches in 1 2/3 innings. Ultimately, he has racked up 25 strikeouts in 16 innings with Peoria, posting a 1.13 ERA through his first four starts.

Jeremy Pena hit leadoff Friday and scored a pair of runs, in addition to a pair of singles, the latter of which brought home a run in the sixth. Pena started slow to open the fall but has collected eight hits over his last five games. J.J. Matijevic knocked in his 12th run of Fall League with a groundout in the 1st, ultimately finishing the day 1-for-2. He was drilled on the foot by a 100 mph fastball, but stayed in the game and did not show any ill effects. Colton Shaver drew the start behind the dish and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He has now racked up 14 punchouts in 31 at-bats with Peoria.

Oct. 10: Glendale 5, Peoria 2
Cody Deason got back on track by working a scoreless seventh inning. Having allowed six runs over his previous two appearances, Deason received some defensive assistance Thursday, but ultimately ended the frame by facing the minimum. Jojanse Torres took the loss after blowing his first save opportunity. The 24-year-old right-hander came on in the ninth and allowed four runs (two earned) on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts. J.J. Matijevic struck out four times in four at-bats, lowering his fall average to .303 in the matchup.

Oct. 9: Peoria 3, Scottsdale 1
After giving up four runs over 2/3 of an inning in his last appearance, Carlos Sanabria bounced back well for Peoria. Sanabria gave up a hit to the first batter he faced, then retired three in a row, including a pair of strikeouts, to conclude his one inning of relief. Colton Shaver provided Peoria with its first run of the game via a solo homer. The blast was Shaver’s first of the AFL after he hit a career-high 21 during the regular season. Jeremy Pena went 0-for-4 at the plate and is hitting .190.

Oct. 8: Peoria 3, Scottsdale 2
J.J. Matijevic collected three hits and recorded his first multi-RBI game in the Fall League, driving in all three runs in Peoria’s 3-2 win over Scottsdale. Each of the Astros’ No. 17 prospect’s three hits had a triple-digit exit velocity: Matijevic connected for his second AFL homer, a 106.9-mph solo shot that traveled 400-plus feet, in his first at-bat; he hit a 106.3-mph single in the fourth and delivered a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh that registered at 102.3 mph. He finished 3-for-4 to improve his average to .323 and leads the league with 20 hits in 15 games. Jeremy Pena went 1-for-4 with a ground-rule double to extend his extra-base hit streak to four games.

Oct. 7: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 6: Mesa 4, Peoria 2
Jeremy Pena has recorded an extra-base hit in three straight games for Peoria after an 0-for-26 start to the Fall League. The 22-year-old utilityman, who started Sunday’s contest in right field, was one of just two Javelinas players to collect multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4. J.J. Matijevic and Colton Shaver went 0-for-4 and 0-for-3, respectively. Jojanse Torres has racked up 11 strikeouts in five innings this fall after striking out three over two frames of relief Sunday. He did, however, also allow a run on three hits and two walks in the outing, which marked the first time in four appearances that the right-hander has been scored upon.

Oct. 5: Peoria 9, Salt River 7
For top prospect Forrest Whitley, Saturday’s scoreless start was just another day at the office. The hard-throwing righty bumped his strikeout total to an AFL-leading mark of 20 with six punchouts against the Rafters as he tied a Fall League-high with five innings on 76 pitches. Whitley worked around a double and a triple among five hits surrendered to lower his ERA this fall to 0.64. Helping his high strikeout total to stand out even more is his meager mark of two walks allowed in 18 1/3 innings. More »

Oct. 4: Salt River 10, Peoria 9
J.J. Matijevic drove in a run in a 1-for-4 showing for Peoria. He’s batting .306 with eight RBIs in the Fall League. Shortstop Jeremy Pena and catcher Colton Shaver put up big numbers from the Nos. 8 and 9 spots in the order, respectively, going 5-for-9 with four extra-base hits and four runs scored. Pena hit a triple, reached base three times and scored two runs, going 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Shaver doubled twice and also hit a triple as part of a 3-for-5 performance.

Carlos Sanabria was hammered for four runs on five hits in just 2/3 of an inning out of the Javelinas’ bullpen. With the performance, the 6-foot right-hander’s ERA spiked to 9.64. Cody Deason also completed just 2/3 of an inning, during which he was tagged for four runs on three hits.

Oct. 3: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Oct. 2: Peoria 2, Glendale 0
J.J. Matijevic finished with a single in four at-bats, bringing his Fall League average down to .295. Jeremy Pena was hitless in three at-bats, and was also caught stealing.

Oct. 1: Peoria 3, Surprise 1
J.J. Matijevic was one of two Peoria players to collect multiple hits on Tuesday as he finished 2-for-3 in the Javelinas’ win over Surprise. Catcher Colton Shaver reached via a walk and scored a run from the bottom of the lineup, and Jeremy Pena struck out in his lone at-bat as a pinch-hitter. Jojanse Torres struck out the side in the ninth to record his second AFL save. Overall, he’s racked up eight strikeouts in three scoreless innings out of Peoria’s bullpen.

Sept. 30: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 29: Surprise 11, Peoria 4
J.J. Matijevic, Houston’s No. 18 prospect, went 0-for-3 with a walk out of the sixth spot in the Peoria lineup as the designated hitter. Catcher Colton Shaver hit eighth and went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks. Shortstop Jeremy Pena (No. 9) hit ninth and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Sept. 28: Peoria 9, Glendale 4
Forrest Whitley has brought his best stuff to Arizona, as he diced up the opposing order for a second start. The 6-foot-7 right-hander didn’t allow a free pass while punching out eight batters in 4 2/3 innings, bringing his strikeout total in 9 1/3 AFL frames to 14. Peoria recorded two hits off MLB’s No. 17 prospect, but the only run Whitley allowed came on a wild pitch in the first inning. Whitley’s WHIP over two starts sits at a stellar 0.54 mark.

Cody Deason took over for Whitley, getting the final out of the fifth. He allowed a leadoff single to open the sixth, then got a double-play ball. But before he could complete the final out of his 1 1/3 innings, the 2018 fifth-round pick gave up a pair of RBI singles. Carlos Sanabria followed Deason and pitched for an inning, allowing a solo homer but nothing else, striking out two.

J.J. Matijevic collected a pair of hits and a run scored in five at-bats. One of those hits was a triple, his first of the Fall League season. His 13 total bases are tied for seventh on the AFL leaderboard.

Sept. 27: Peoria 5, Glendale 2
No. 18 prospect J.J. Matijevic recorded a multihit effort with two singles for the Javelinas, including a run-scoring hit in the four-run first inning. The first baseman was also caught stealing in the third. Catcher Colton Shaver singled and drew a walk, ending his night batting 1-for-3. Jeremy Pena went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the nine-hole.

Jojanse Torres struck out three batters and issued a walk in a hitless ninth inning, earning his first save in the Fall League.

Sept. 26: Thursday's game between Scottsdale and Peoria was rained out and will not be made up.

Sept. 25: Surprise 6, Peoria 2
Both of Houston’s prospects went hitless in Wednesday’s action. J.J. Matijevic finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and Jeremy Pena went 0-for-2, but drew two walks.

Sept. 24: Surprise 6, Peoria 4
Catcher Colton Shaver went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles for Peoria. The former 39th-round pick in the 2017 Draft is coming off a strong season split between Class A Advanced Fayetteville and Double-A Corpus Christi, where he hit a combined .248 with 21 home runs and an .842 OPS. First baseman J.J. Matijevic went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, while DH Jeremy Pena was 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts.

Sept. 23: Scheduled day off for all Arizona Fall League teams.

Sept. 22: Surprise 2, Peoria 1
After starting the AFL season 5-for-11, No. 9 prospect Jeremy Pena has now gone 0-for-8 in his last two games. Playing third and leading off, he went 0-for-4 on Sunday with two strikeouts.

Cody Deason, the Astros’ fifth-round Draft pick out of Arizona in 2018, spent most of his first full season as a starter and pitched across two levels of A ball. He came out of the bullpen for his first AFL appearance and didn’t allow a hit in his inning of work, walking one and striking out a pair. Fellow right-hander Jojanse Torres gave up two hits and a walk, but managed to not give up a run and struck out two. Carlos Sanabria turned in his second straight strong AFL outing, throwing a perfect frame and striking out two. He went two scoreless on Thursday night.

Sept. 21: Mesa 4, Peoria 1
Forrest Whitley’s 2019 campaign didn’t go according to plan, but the highly touted right-hander is off to a strong start in the Arizona Fall League. Whitley, who led the league in strikeouts a season ago, threw 46 of his 83 pitches for strikes and carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning. The 22-year-old, a first-round pick in the 2016 Draft, retired nine in a row at one point and finished 4 2/3 scoreless innings having given up just one hit and allowing one walk with six strikeouts. More »

J.J. Matijevic wasn’t able to follow up on his success from Friday, finishing 0-for-4 as Peoria’s first baseman. Colton Shaver struck out three times from the No. 9 spot in the order.

Sept. 20: Peoria 5, Mesa 1
J.J. Matijevic, whom the Astros grabbed from the University of Arizona in the 2017 Draft, appears to be comfortable now that he’s back in Arizona. The 23-year-old came through with an RBI double in the fifth and a solo homer, his first in the Fall League, in the seventh. Matijevic has already driven in six runs and is batting .462. The first baseman spent the 2019 season with Double-A Corpus Christi, his first experience at the Double-A level, and hit .246 over 73 games. Jeremy Pena went 0-for-4 at the plate. More »

Sept. 19: Peoria 10, Glendale 3
The son of former big leaguer Geronimo Pena, Jeremy Pena (No. 9 prospect) has swung that bat well over the first two games for the 2-0 Peoria Javelinas. Playing third and leading off on Thursday, he went 3-for-6 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. He’s gone 5-for-11 over the first two Fall League games. No. 18 prospect J.J. Matijevic broke open the game early on Thursday with a bases-loaded double in the first inning, driving in all three runs. He went 2-for-4 on the night and is 4-for-9 with four RBIs over two games. After a successful season pitching out of the Corpus Christi bullpen in the Double-A Texas League, right-hander Carlos Sanabria picked up where he left off with two scoreless innings on Thursday. He allowed just one hit and a walk, picking up one strikeout.

Sept. 18: Peoria 10, Salt River 6
The Astros had three players in Peoria’s starting lineup on Wednesday. No. 9 prospect Jeremy Pena hit .303/.385/.440 across two levels of A ball in 2019 and he picked up where he left off by going 2-for-5 as the Javelinas’ leadoff hitter, though he did strike out three times. His single at 105.6 mph off the bat was one of the hardest hit balls of the night. No. 18 prospect J.J. Matijevic added two hits of his own (along with three strikeouts) and drove in a run. Catcher Colton Shaver went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.