HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros player development department has named OF Kyle Tucker the Astros Minor League Player of the Year, and RHP Forrest Whitley the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year.Tucker and Whitley will be honored on the field at Minute Maid Park on Sunday in a
HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros player development department has named OF Kyle Tucker the Astros Minor League Player of the Year, and RHP Forrest Whitley the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Tucker and Whitley will be honored on the field at Minute Maid Park on Sunday in a pregame ceremony.
Tucker batted .274 (127x464) with 70 runs, 33 doubles, five triples, 25 homers, 90 RBI, 21 steals and an .874 OPS (.346 OBP/.528 SLG) in 120 combined games between Double A Corpus Christi (72g) and Class A Advanced Buies Creek (48g) this season. Despite being one of the youngest position players in both the Class A Advanced Carolina League and the Double A Texas League at 20 years old, Tucker was one of just 10 players in all of the minor leagues to record at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 2017.
Tucker was selected by the Astros with the fifth overall pick in the first round 2015 draft and has developed into one of the highest rated prospects in the game. The left-handed hitter represented Houston in this year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, going 1x3 with an RBI in a start in right field. Currently rated by MLB.com as the No. 7 overall prospect in baseball, Tucker became the youngest minor league player to post a 20-homer, 20-steal, 90-RBI season since Cubs IF Javier Baez did so in 2013 at 20 years old.
Whitley dominated at three separate minor league levels in 2017 despite pitching the entire season at 19 years old, going 5-4 with a 2.83 ERA (29ER/92.1IP), 34 walks, 78 hits allowed and 143 strikeouts in 23 games (18 starts) between Double A Corpus Christi (4g), Class A Advanced Buies Creek (7g) and Class A Quad Cities (12g). Selected by the Astros with the 16th overall pick in last year's MLB draft, the 6-foot-7 right-hander led the minor leagues in strikeouts per 9.0 innings ratio (13.94, min. 90IP).
According to Baseball America, Whitley became the fifth high school pitcher drafted in the first round to reach the Double A level in his first full professional season over the last 20 years, joining RHP Chad Billingsley, RHP Dylan Bundy, RHP Zack Greinke and LHP Clayton Kershaw. He was tabbed by Yahoo! Sports as the 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and was listed as a runner-up for ESPN.com's 2017 MLB Prospect of the Year.