Whisenhunt represents a very high-upside pick for the Giants. Despite falling to the back of the second round, the lefty, who played collegiately at East Carolina, was listed much higher by prospect analysts. He fell in the draft largely because he missed the 2022 season due to an banning from the NCAA after testing positive for a banned substance (Whisenhunt said of the ban that, “Over the winter break I took supplements I purchased at a nationwide nutrition store which resulted in a positive test”).
Whisenhunt didn’t pitch for East Carolina this spring after testing positive for a banned substance in the offseason, so he didn’t make his 2022 debut until June 12 when he pitched for the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod League. He looked good despite some rust, sitting 92-93 mph and touching 95 mph with an improved curveball and a changeup that flashed plus. It’s a paradox of sorts but he might be better off having missed the spring. While many other first-round contenders among college pitchers have had Tommy John surgery, Whisenhunt is healthy and relatively fresh, making him likely to pitch for most of the remaining minor-league season after the draft. He was ruled ineligible for the NCAA season after testing positive for a banned substance. That left his team without its best pitcher this year, as East Carolina ultimately fell in the super regionals to Texas — perhaps it would be in Omaha if Whisenhunt had been around. However, he is the best healthy college left-hander in the draft right now, with mid-rotation upside.
ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel was a bit lower, but still had Whisenhunt well above the No. 66 slot where the Giants got him. McDaniel listed him as the draft’s No. 40 prospect, with this to say:
He was trending up after a strong postseason in 2021 alongside Gavin Williams and a sparkling preseason outing for a number of scouting directors (when he had mid-first round buzz), but was suspended for the season due to a PED test. He’s been solid on the Cape of late but comes with more unknowns than other college arms in this area.
It’s the second straight pick that the Giants have used to take an ultra-talented prospect who fell due to not playing, after they used their first-round pick on two-way player Reggie Crawford, who missed the 2022 season after Tommy John surgery.
In 2021, his last year at East Carolina, Whisenhunt made 13 starts and had a 3.77 ERA and a 1.161 WHIP. In 62 innings he struck out 79 batters and walked 22. He made four appearances in the Cape Cod League this year, and had a 7.88 ERA and a 1.375 WHIP. He did, however, have 21 strikeouts to 6 walks in 16 innings.