Scouting Report: Whitaker throws a fastball that averages around 92-94 mph, but it's been clocked as high as 96 mph. And he still has room to grow. Tall and lanky, Whitaker has a "projectable frame." A few more years and a few more pounds, his fastball could consistently reach the upper 90s. Whitaker also features a nasty, snapping curveball and a changeup.
Concerns: Last year, Whitaker experienced some elbow pain which kept him sidelined during rookie ball. Otherwise, he appears to be fairly injury-free. Mechanicswise, he seems to have a smooth arm delivery.
Whitaker is slightly erratic. He is ranked second in strikeouts in his league, but he's also ranked third in walks. Striking batters out takes a lot of pitches, and he often wastes a lot too. As time passes though, he should be able to have better control and make better use of all his pitches.
Predictions: Whitaker is still a baby and in the infancy of his development, but it's hard not to get excited about this young prospect. He will probably finish this season at Salem-Keizer and them move up to Single-A San Jose next year. Unless he makes a phenomenal leap in his development, don't expect him to be in the majors anytime before 2007. At best, he could be a September call-up in 2006, but even that is generous. In time, Whitaker should develop into a top line pitcher, and it won't be long until we see him in the bigs.
Michelle Lo, also known as the Armchair Manager, writes recaps and other miscellaneous articles and designs some of the graphics at SFDugout.com. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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