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Whitley named AFL Pitcher of the Week

MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The No. 8 prospect in baseball is off to a hot start in the Arizona Fall League.  

Forrest Whitley -- the Houston Astros' No. 2 prospect -- was named the Arizona Fall League Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. winning Hitter of the Week, baseball's top-ranked hitting and pitching prospects swept the awards in Week 1.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The No. 8 prospect in baseball is off to a hot start in the Arizona Fall League.  

Forrest Whitley -- the Houston Astros' No. 2 prospect -- was named the Arizona Fall League Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. winning Hitter of the Week, baseball's top-ranked hitting and pitching prospects swept the awards in Week 1.

2018 Arizona Fall League rosters

"I wasn't expecting to do that in the first week," Whitley said. "Especially the first game. So it's actually pretty cool."

Whitley added he hopes he can build upon whatever momentum he found in his first game with the Scottsdale Scorpions.

"Hopefully I can kind of take it and run with it, hopefully win it a couple more times."

The right-handed pitcher dominated in his first start on the mound, allowing just one hit in 3 1/3 innings, striking out the first seven batters he faced.

Whitley said that he felt the location of his pitches was one of his strong suits in his outing.

"I was able to locate really well," he said.

Whitley admits that he lost that ability in his final inning and aims to try and pick up where he left off before that.

"I was able to locate in zone, out of zone, basically throw all my pitches where I wanted to," he said. "Obviously I'd love to do that every time I go out, so just try to stay consistent with that."

The Astros drafted Whitley with the 17th pick in 2016. He made his mark quickly; in 2017 he was named the Astros' Minor League Player of the Year at age 19.

He is currently a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks. Whitley has four strong pitches, his best being his fastball. But he also boasts a curveball, a slider and a changeup in his repertoire.

While a Major League debut may not be far away for Whitley, he wants to try and continue to work on the location of his pitches in the Arizona Fall League.

"The location of pitches is going to be the most important thing," he said. "Just trying to get ahead of guys, not walking guys, and just throwing my best pitches in the best location possible."

Whitley served a 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League drug program in February. He also had a few injuries. He was pulled from a start in July due to an oblique injury and returned to the DL in late August with a right lat injury.He was pulled from a start in July due to an oblique injury and returned to the DL in late August with a right lat injury.

Whitley has appeared in 39 games and has struck out 203 batters in 137.1 Minor League innings.

Harley Yearout is a senior 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.