DAVID WHITEHEAD, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: April 21, 1992
Drafted: 13th Round, 401st Overall, 2013 (Phillies)
How Acquired: Trade (from Phillies for Charlie Morton)
College: Elon University
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Whitehead had Tommy John surgery during his junior year at Elon, which hurt his draft standing. The Phillies took him in the 34th round and he debuted the following year. He’s a groundball pitcher who throws 89-92 mph topping out at 93. He throws a sinker and a curve, and so far hasn’t missed many bats. The Pirates acquired him for Charlie Morton.
The Phillies sent Whitehead to the New York-Penn League and he pitched well, throwing strikes, allowing just one HR, and missing very few bats.
Whitehead struggled in the Florida State League. He was skipping a level, but the FSL is the friendliest league in the minors for pitchers and Whitehead turned 23 at the start of the season. His walk rate more than tripled and opponents batted 291/364/415, compared to league averages of 248/313/337. Whitehead may have been hurt some by his home park in Clearwater, which is one of the FSL’s better hitter’s parks. He had an opponents’ OPS of .846 at home and .719 on the road, but the latter is still well above the league average. He put up very similar numbers each month, not showing any improvement over the course of the season.
The Pirates tried to help Whitehead make some adjustments that would improve his velocity and put him in the Altoona rotation to start the season. The result was a fiasco, as Whitehead couldn’t find the strike zone. When he did throw strikes, his pitches got hit hard, with opponents batting .299 against him. After 11 starts, the Pirates sent him to Bristol, where he pitched mostly in relief. What little improvement he showed was probably attributable to the much weaker hitters there.
The Pirates will no doubt try to get Whitehead straightened out in fall instructional league and in spring training. Where he ends up in 2017 will probably depend on whether they can get him to start throwing strikes.
|2017: Minor league contract|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2014
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2016
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 9, 2010: Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 36th round, 1086th overall pick.
June 8, 2013: Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 34th round, 1021st overall pick; signed on June 12.
December 12, 2015: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Charlie Morton.