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Local Pitcher Makes It Big

Former SUNY Old Westbury pitcher named to Chicago Cubs’ 40-man roster 

Former SUNY College at Old Westbury right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack has been named to the Chicago Cubs’ 40-man roster, the first Panther in school history to make a major league roster.

Since 2009, he has spent time with the Boise Hawks (2009), Peoria Chiefs (2010) and Daytona Cubs (2010-11, 2012), and the Tennessee Smokies (2011). In 2009, the Chicago Cubs made Whitenack the first Division III player selected in the draft, acquiring him in the eighth round.

“We are very proud that Whitey made the Chicago’s 40-man roster,” said head coach Rod Stephan. “With his continued hard work, we are sure that he will reach his ultimate goal to play for the Cubs.”

Whitenack was a member of the Daytona Cubs of the Cubs’ Single-A affiliate in 2012 after recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He made 15 starts and struck out 31 batters in 51.1 innings.

In 2011, he spent time on the mound between the Cubs’ Single-A and Double-A affiliates, the Daytona Cubs and Tennessee Smokies. Whitenack opened the season with Daytona, going 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 23 innings before getting promoted to Double A. During his time with the Smokies, he was recognized as an SOU Mid-Season All-Star. He finished the Smokies’ season with a 4-0 record, sporting a 2.39 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 37.2 innings while holding the opposition to a .237 batting average.  

In four professional seasons, Whitenack has started in 65 of 69 games, recording 19 wins and 202 strikeouts in 309.1 innings of work.   

Whitenack was taken by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Draft and has done nothing but impress during his time in the minor leagues. While playing a short season for the Boise Hawks of the Northwest League in 2009, Whitenack had 12 starts on the hill, working 54.1 innings with 33 strikeouts, allowing just one home run.

Before advancing to Daytona in 2010, he made 20 starts for the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League, registering an 8-7 record. He struck out 63 batters while holding the opposition to a .262 batting average in 103.1 innings. At Daytona, he posted a 3-1 record with a 2.04 ERA, striking out 28 batters over 39.2 innings. 

Whitenack spent three seasons pitching for Old Westbury where he compiled 12 wins with a 3.03 ERA and 189 strikeouts in 183.1 innings. He also was named 2009 ECAC Pitcher of the Year and won back-to-back Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Year honors to end his collegiate career. Whitenack was a member of the 2009 Panther squad that set the program record for single season wins (27), which now stands at 30 due in part to the 2012 squad.

With his promotion, Whitenack will be reporting to the major league camp in Mesa, Arizona.