Saturday, May 21, 2022

Carson Whisenhunt, ECU ace and top draft prospect, to miss rest of season after failed drug test

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East Carolina Athletics

East Carolina University left-hander Carson Whisenhunt, who entered the spring ranked by CBS Sports as the top college pitcher in this year’s draft, will not pitch for the remainder of the season after being deemed ineligible by the NCAA, according to Pirates head coach Cliff Godwin. 

Whisenhunt, in a statement provided to Pirate Radio in Greenvile, claims he took a supplement “purchased at a nationwide nutrition store” that caused him to fail a performance-enhancing drug test.

Whisenhunt was originally suspended for the Pirates’ Opening Day series. At the time, Godwin classified Whisenhunt’s benching as being an infraction of the team rules. He later noted that Whinsehunt would not be available for the Pirates’ subsequent series against Campbell or North Carolina, either.

Here’s what CBS Sports wrote about Whisenhunt when he was ranked as the 17th-best prospect in the class:

ECU has had six players taken in the top two rounds of the draft in school history. Half of those picks have occurred in the last two years. Whisenhunt, arguably the best healthy collegiate arm entering the spring, should improve both figures. He’s a tall, gangly southpaw who combines strike-throwing polish with an intriguing pitch mix. His low-90s fastball features a lot of carry, and analysts are high on his changeup, which checks in about 10 ticks slower and with muted spin. His curveball remains a work in progress, but he throws it with enough velocity and spin to project well. Former teammate Gavin Williams was selected 23rd last summer; Whisenhunt lacks Williams’ raw stuff, yet a team convinced there’s more chicken on the bone, either through velocity addition or breaking ball refinement, could take him before then.

It seems more likely than not that Whisenhunt will slip in the draft beyond his expected slot as a result.

Whisenhunt started 13 times for the Pirates last season. He accumulated a 3.77 ERA and a 3.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 62 innings. 

Whisenhunt’s ineligbility is the latest in a series of hits to the college pitching class. Kumar Rocker’s decision to not return to Vanderbilt and injuries to Landon Sims, Connor Prielipp, Peyton Pallette, Blade Tidwell, and Reggie Crawford have left the door open for others to raise their stock.

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