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Astros' Tucker ends AFL campaign on high note

MLB.com @DKramer_

While his Mesa Solar Sox fell just short of a title, Astros No. 1 prospect Kyle Tucker provided a glimpse of his remarkable talent in the Arizona Fall League championship game on Saturday.

Tucker, who slashed .214/.305/.310 in 22 games during the season, finished 2-for-4 in Mesa's 8-2 loss to Peoria, ending his AFL campaign on a positive note.

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While his Mesa Solar Sox fell just short of a title, Astros No. 1 prospect Kyle Tucker provided a glimpse of his remarkable talent in the Arizona Fall League championship game on Saturday.

Tucker, who slashed .214/.305/.310 in 22 games during the season, finished 2-for-4 in Mesa's 8-2 loss to Peoria, ending his AFL campaign on a positive note.

View Full Game Coverage

:: 2017 Arizona Fall League championship game coverage ::

"I wanted to come here and work on some stuff and get a little bit better, and work on stuff that I can now do in the rest of the offseason and get ready for next year," said Tucker, who was also robbed of extra-bases in his final at-bat when Mariners outfielder Eric Filia crashed into the fence to corral his fly ball.

"It was a good experience," he continued. "I got to get to know a lot of guys here, guys that I didn't get to play with this year, they came here and I got to get to know them. Getting to know these guys, playing on the same team and playing against them is a lot of fun."

Splitting time between Class A and Double-A in 2017, Tucker was named the Astros' Minor League Player of the Year after slashing .274/.346/.528 with 25 homers, 90 RBIs, 33 doubles, five triples, 70 runs scored and 21 stolen bases in 120 games. He was one of just 10 Minor Leaguers with a 20-20 season, and at age 20, he was the youngest Minor Leaguer since Javier Baez in 2013 to hit 20 homers, steal 20 bases and notch 90 RBIs. Tucker also represented the Astros at this year's Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game, starting in right field and going 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Video: MSS@PEO: Peoria's Eric Filia makes catch at the wall

Tucker is among the last blue-chip prospects drafted by the Astros in the top five overall as part of a massive rebuild that eventually culminated with this year's World Series title. From 2012-15, first-round picks by Houston included Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr. and Alex Bregman -- key cogs in their title run. Tucker, a promising left-handed-hitting outfielder with power, could be among the next wave of key contributors. Scouts have raved about his fit in the corner outfield with an above-average arm.

The Tampa native was drafted fifth overall in '15 directly out of Plant High School, which has spawned athletic talent ranging from Hall of Fame big leaguer Wade Boggs to former University of Georgia star quarterback Aaron Murray. His brother, Preston Tucker, is currently an outfielder in the Astros' organization and played 146 games with Houston between 2015-16. Kyle Tucker said his brother has had a major impact on his development.

Video: Tucker discusses brother's influence, advice to him

"I've watched him ever since I was a little kid," Kyle Tucker said. "I watched him grow up, go through this organization and go through this whole process. It's awesome. He's helped me along the way."

MLBPipeline.com projects Tucker could crack the Majors as early as 2018, and that he will likely be a part of the club's Opening Day lineup in 2020 in right field, surrounded by the rest of the nucleus that includes Bregman, Correa, Marwin Gonzalez, George Springer and American League MVP Jose Altuve.

"I don't get caught up in prospect stuff. I just go out and play," Tucker said. "Our big league club did a great job this year. Obviously they won the World Series. I'm looking forward to next year and hopefully being out there with them."

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.