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Astros' Arizona Fall League overview

Top prospect Tucker glad he's still with Houston after trade rumors
MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

The Astros set a record by spending $19.1 million on bonuses in the 2015 Draft. That largesse already has paid off huge in a couple of ways.

No. 2 overall pick Alex Bregman hit his way to Houston 13 months after signing for $5.9 million and has delivered several key hits and defensive plays during the club's march to the World Series. Supplemental first-rounder Daz Cameron, signed for $4 million, was a key prospect in the August trade for Justin Verlander, who won the first nine Astros games in which he appeared en route to earning American League Championship Series MVP honors.

The Astros set a record by spending $19.1 million on bonuses in the 2015 Draft. That largesse already has paid off huge in a couple of ways.

No. 2 overall pick Alex Bregman hit his way to Houston 13 months after signing for $5.9 million and has delivered several key hits and defensive plays during the club's march to the World Series. Supplemental first-rounder Daz Cameron, signed for $4 million, was a key prospect in the August trade for Justin Verlander, who won the first nine Astros games in which he appeared en route to earning American League Championship Series MVP honors.

Arizona Fall League roster & stats

That 2015 Draft could yield another cornerstone for the Astros in the near future. Signed for $4 million, No. 5 overall pick Kyle Tucker is one of the best prospects in baseball -- he ranks No. 7 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 -- and is one of just 10 Minor Leaguers to accumulate 20 homers and steals in 2017. The 20-year-old outfielder batted .274/.346/.528 with 25 homers and 21 steals between high Class A and Double-A.

"That was one of my goals, at least try to get 20-20," said Tucker, who's playing with the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. "I know I have the speed, I can try and get the bases. And the power, last year I only had like nine home runs, so I kind of knew I could hit a lot more home runs than that."

The younger brother of Preston Tucker, who spent parts of 2015 and 2016 with the Astros and all of this season in Triple-A, Kyle ranked as one of the best high school hitters in the 2015 Draft class. He has a sweet left-handed swing with plenty of bat speed, not to mention advanced pitch-recognition skills and a mature approach. He made an easy transition into pro ball and began realizing his power potential this year when he added some more loft to his stroke.

Tucker offers more beyond his high upside at the plate. He's an average runner who makes the most of his speed on the bases and his solid arm works anywhere in the outfield. Though he has played all three outfield positions in the Minors and has spent almost all of his AFL time in center, he projects best as a right fielder in the long run.

Tucker's considerable talent has made him the target of trade talks for a while. His name came up last offseason when the Astros were pursuing Chris Sale and again this summer when they were looking for upgrades. He said that it feels good to be desired and also to know that Houston has refused to part with him in any deal, though he tries not to listen to the chatter too much.

Houston's Top 30 prospects

"It's nice that an organization would want you," Tucker said. "Even if you got traded, that means the other team wants you too, so you have options there. I didn't make a big deal about it. I just want to play baseball, so whatever role that is, I'm happy. I'm glad I'm still with the Astros and hopefully I can get up there next year."

Astros hitters in the Fall League

Yordan Alvarez, OF/1B (HOU No. 4) -- The Dodgers signed Alvarez for $2 million in June 2016 and then traded him to the Astros a month later, before he had ever played in a pro game, for Josh Fields. The Cuban was a revelation in 2017, showing the ability to hit for power and average and putting up .304/.379/.481 numbers with 12 homers in 90 games between two Class A stops.

Nick Tanielu, 2B/3B -- An infielder whose best tool is his hitting ability, Tanielu played in just two games this year while recovering from surgery after tearing the anterior-cruciate ligament in his right knee last summer. He played in the AFL a year ago, batting .352/.379/.500 with Glendale.

Astros pitchers in the Fall League

Dean Deetz, RHP (HOU No. 26) -- Signed as an 11th-rounder out of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M JC in 2014, Deetz pairs a 92-97 mph fastball with a big-breaking slider in the low 80s. He excelled in Double-A but got hit hard in Triple-A, going a combined 7-6 with a 4.25 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 84 2/3 innings over 25 appearances (16 starts).

Video: Astros prospect Deetz on working in the Fall League

Riley Ferrell, RHP -- A 2015 third-rounder from Texas Christian who signed for an over-slot $1 million, Ferrell features closer stuff with a mid-90s fastball with late life and a mid-80s slider with two-plane break. After missing most of 2016 because he had an aneurysm removed from his throwing shoulder, he recorded a 3.67 ERA and a 60/14 K/BB ratio in 54 innings, mostly in Double-A.

Brendan McCurry, RHP -- The Athletics popped McCurry in the 22nd round out of Oklahoma State in 2014 and sent him to the Astros in the Jed Lowrie trade in November 2015. He relies on mixing pitches and arm angles. McCurry's fastball tops out in the low 90s and his changeup grades as his best pitch. He dominated the lower Minors but hasn't been as effective since getting to Triple-A, where he had a 4.43 ERA and a 52/12 K/BB ratio in 44 2/3 innings after being suspended for the first 50 games of the season for testing positive for a stimulant.

Framber Valdez, LHP (HOU No. 14) -- Though he signed out of the Dominican Republic at the relatively advanced age of 21 in March 2015, Valdez has emerged as one of the top lefties in the Houston system thanks to his heavy 91-96 mph fastball and his plus curveball. He went 7-8 with a 4.16 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 110 1/3 innings in 25 games (18 starts) between high Class A and Double-A.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.