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Looking through all the top prospect lists that have come out in recent weeks, there’s one name prevalent in each top 10: Houston Astros pitcher Forrest Whitley. Baseball America has him ranked 10th, ESPN’s Keith Law 8th, and Baseball Prospectus 10th — yeah, he’s widely regarded as the top prospect arm in the game if you don’t count Shohei Ohtani.
However, Forrest’s meteoric rise has hit a road bump with reports that he’s been suspended 50 games for violating Minor League Baseball’s drug program. ESPN’s Buster Olney notes the suspension is without pay.
The Astros’ Forrest Whitley, one of baseball’s best pitching prospects, has been suspended 50 games without pay for a violation of the minor-league drug program.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 21, 2018
What Forrest tested positive for hasn’t been revealed, but Fox San Antonio’s Chuck Miketinac says a source told him he was given a stimulant to help him stay awake for a long drive.
Can confirm @Buster_ESPN report. Forrest Whitley suspended for 50 games. Source tells me Whitley was at an out of state college baseball game as a fan after his season was over and was given an unknown stimulant by a friend in order to help keep him awake on his long drive home.
— Chuck Miketinac (@MaxSportsSA) February 21, 2018
Astros GM Jeff Lunhow was obviously shocked and disappointed that their prized arm was popped:
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow talks to media regarding Forrest Whitley suspension. "We're disappointed in the outcome," he said. pic.twitter.com/XMJww7jA1X
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 21, 2018
Forrest pitched in three levels last season and racked up 143 strikeouts in just over 92 innings pitched. He’ll likely get back to dominating the minors, and maybe even get the call late in the season, after he serves his suspension.