Courtesy of Tim Casey/GatorCountry.com
Height/Weight: 6’4”/215 lbs
2012 Stats: 4-0, 33.3 IP, 3.51 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, .285 BAA, 20 K/18 BB (14 G; 10 GS)
In 2010, the San Diego Padres selected Whitson with the ninth overall pick in the MLB’s first-year player draft and, surprisingly, he turned down a $2.1 million offer to attend Florida.
A year later, it seemed like Whitson had made the right decision, as he turned in an outstanding freshman season, going 8-1 with a 2.40 ERA and making 19 starts. His success in 2011 made it seem as though Whitson was bound for greatness in 2012. However, that was not the case.
In the fall, the right-hander suffered a groin injury that impeded his ability on the mound through the spring, and due to the subsequent change in his workout routine and preparation, he also battled arm fatigue. Both injuries ultimately limited his playing time, as he struggled to find consistency all season.
Still, Whitson possesses the potential and arsenal to be a front-of-the-rotation starter with a fastball that comfortably sits in the 92-97 mph range and explodes out of his hand. His other above-average offering is a low to mid-80s slider that generates late, two-plane break and has the makings of a legitimate out pitch. Rounding out the right-hander’s rotation is an 81-85 mph changeup that is currently an undeveloped offering but could be an average pitch by the time he reaches the major leagues.
Whitson will have some big shoes to fill as the Florida ace after the departure of Hudson Randall (fourth round, Tigers) and Brian Johnson (first round, Red Sox).