Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Arizona Fall League

Whitley caps stellar AFL campaign with dominant start

MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Forrest Whitley took the field at the Peoria Sports Complex on Thursday in brilliant form, striking out nine players in five innings for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Whitley, the Astros' No. 2 prospect and No. 8 overall , allowed no walks, one hit and no runs in his final start of the Arizona Fall League. Despite Whitley's dominance, Scottsdale lost to Peoria, 2-1.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Forrest Whitley took the field at the Peoria Sports Complex on Thursday in brilliant form, striking out nine players in five innings for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Whitley, the Astros' No. 2 prospect and No. 8 overall , allowed no walks, one hit and no runs in his final start of the Arizona Fall League. Despite Whitley's dominance, Scottsdale lost to Peoria, 2-1.

• Box score

Whitley's nine strikeouts equal the Arizona Fall League high for this season, matching D-backs top prospect Jon Duplantier and Philly's Tyler Viza.

That strikeout fest happened within the last 10 days, with Duplantier's first nine-strikeout game happening on Nov. 6, while his second one that coincided with Viza's happened on Nov. 13.

Whitley's performance saw him become only the second pitcher since 2011 to strike out more than eight batters in an AFL game. Kyle Zimmer struck out 11 batters in five innings back in 2014.

Scorpions catcher Mark Kolozsvary, who went 1-for-4, said Whitley pitched really well today.

"He had all five of his pitches working, we were able to mix those up pretty well," Kolozsvary said. "His changeup was pretty solid, he kept the hitters off balance with that."

Whitley, who was the starting pitcher for the East Division in the Fall Stars Game, struck out 32 batters in 22 innings this Fall League.

"Effectively being able to mix all of his pitches, and I think that's why he gets so many strikeouts," Kolozsvary said.

Kolozsvary said Whitley can put the ball where he wants it.

"[Whitley's] able to mix it up on those guys, keep the hitters off balance."

The Javelinas came up clutch in the bottom of the ninth inning, when Rays No. 7 prospect Ronaldo Hernandez ripped an RBI single into right field, giving Peoria the 2-1 win.

The Javelinas, who are playing the Salt River Rafters on Saturday in the AFL championship game, finished the season 21-19. The loss left the Scorpions' final AFL record at 15-15-1.

The 21-year-old Whitley, who reached Double-A last season despite injury and a suspension, finished with an ERA of 2.42 in the AFL.

Ricardo Ávila is a graduate journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.