Top Astros Prospect Forrest Whitley Suspended 50 Games for Drug Violation

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2018

Baseball bats and gloves sit on the tarp with the new Houston Astros logo during batting practice before an exhibition baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Friday, March 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

Houston Astros prospect Forrest Whitley has been suspended 50 games for violating minor league baseball's drug program.

Per MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, Major League Baseball announced Whitley's suspension Wednesday.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow addressed Whitley's failed drug test, via McTaggart:

"We're disappointed in the outcome. We support Major League Baseball's drug program, and we do everything we can to educate our guys and keep them from making decisions that results in suspensions. But in this case, as an organization, we're going to suffer a little bit. But we're still hopeful and optimistic Forrest is going to be a big part of our future."

The Astros selected Whitley with the 17th overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft. His name was frequently mentioned in trade talks during the offseason, including in the lead-up to Houston's acquisition of Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates last month.

"I'm not going to lie to you, I've been paying pretty close attention to it," Whitley told McTaggart in January about the trade talks. "It's got me on my toes, but that's out of my control. That's up to Jeff, that's up to people higher up in the Astros."

Whitley is Houston's top prospect and the No. 9 prospect overall in 2018, per MLB.com. The 20-year-old had a 2.83 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 92.1 innings across three levels last season.

Currently on the roster of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, Whitley will be eligible to return May 29 against the Springfield Cardinals.

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