Forrest Whitley didn't quite follow up his amazing Arizona Fall League debut with a repeat performance -- when he struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced -- but he did have the stuff of a major league No. 1 starter in his second outing Tuesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, blowing away AFL hitters and showing maybe just a grade of command away from being an impact big league pitcher.
Whitley showed five distinct pitches across his outing, although he rolled them out slowly as if they were his new product line for 2018. He was 92-96 mph for all of his five innings, and in the first inning worked solely with that and his grade-70 changeup, 81-84 mph, with good deception and action, both tumble and fade. He added a slider, a tight curveball, and then a surprise in a cutter at 88-92 that is probably above average or better right now. It's distinct from his 83-86 mph slider, harder but with plenty of break to it, and he can use it in different spots than the slider or the plus curveball. His control is already above average, probably trending to plus, and he repeats his delivery very well, so while I think it's about average-ish command, it should end up getting to above average in time. (He had some wide misses -- he wasn't missing by inches, and generally threw a ton of strikes, but he had a handful of pitches that looked like total misfires.)