Pipeline names Astros' Prospects of the Year

October 11th, 2018

HOUSTON -- Their backgrounds couldn't be more different. Their ceilings are just as high.

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Outfielder , taken No. 5 overall in the MLB Draft by the Astros in 2015, was the prospect everybody knew about heading into 2018 at 21 years old. Pitcher Josh James, taken by the Astros in the 34th round in 2014, wasn't exactly a household name as he entered his 25-year-old season this year.

Every Astros fan knows both Tucker and James very well after they made their big league debuts this season after tremendous Minor League seasons. They were named, respectively, the Astros' Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year, as chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff.

Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen for each club across the Majors. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.

Tucker hit .332/.400/.590 with 27 doubles, three triples, 24 home runs and 93 RBIs at Triple-A before finishing the year in the big leagues. His .989 OPS was the best in Triple-A this year, 14th in all of the Minor Leagues. He was the second-youngest player at Triple-A this year.

"He dominated the Minor Leagues," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

Hinch said Tucker will have a chance to win a spot on the Astros' Opening Day roster next year at 22 years old.

"I think he's got to come up with a 'B' swing that will allow it to be more adjustable to different styles of pitches and different ways that guys attack them. We talked a little about his mechanics, about what he's learned, the different pitches he's seen in the big leagues. I told him to come win the job next year as an outfielder."

James started the year at Double-A Corpus Christi, moved to Triple-A and finished in the big leagues. In the Minor Leagues, he went 6-4 with a 3.23 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 114 1/3 innings pitched. He was fourth in the Minors in strikeouts. He became the lowest-drafted pitcher in Astros history to make a start in the big leagues for Houston.

The Astros thought so much of James and his arsenal that they added him to the playoff roster for the American League Division Series against the Indians.

"It's probably the rocket through the organization, both in terms of being where he was and going on a playoff roster, but also his name is now starting to be recognized around," Astros president of business operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "His stuff is elite, so when you have a pitcher with that kind of stuff, you want to use it, especially in a situation where you're facing some really good hitters."