The Houston Astros have used a handful of prospects bullets to add Justin Verlander. But two of the biggest prospects remained in the Astros system and the organization rewarded them for an excellent season on Thursday.
The Houston Astros player development department named outfielder Kyle Tucker as the Astros Minor League Player of the Year and RHP Forrest Whitley as the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Tucker batted .274 (127x464) with 70 runs, 33 doubles, five triples, 25 homers, 90 RBI, 21 steals and a .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.
The younger brother of Kyle Tucker was selected by the Astros with the fifth-overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. Tucker played in the 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Whitley was 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).
The Astros selected Whitley with the 16th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.
The Astros press release had a mind-blowing factoid about Whitley:
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.