CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - The Houston Astros named RHP Josh James the 2018 Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year and OF Kyle Tucker the 2018 Astros Minor League Player of the Year on Thursday. Both former Hooks have joined the defending World Champions during the 2018 campaign.
James, who recorded a 2.49 ERA in six appearances with the Hooks in 2018, made his big league debut on September 1 with five innings of three-run ball against the Angels at Minute Maid Park. His nine strikeouts were the second-most recorded by an Astros pitcher in a Major League debut. The Hollywood, Fla. native has tossed 16 innings for Houston during September, registering a 2.81 ERA.
James spent all of 2017 with Corpus Christi, posting a 4-8 record with a 4.38 ERA in 76 innings. The 25-year-old returned to the Hooks in 2018 and began one of the most dominant seasons in Minor League Baseball this season, going 6-4 with a 3.23 ERA, 171 strikeouts, and a .191 batting average against in 23 games (21 starts) between Triple-A Fresno and Corpus Christi. His strikeout total was the fourth-most in the minors in 2018 were the most by a pitcher in Houston's minor league system in over a decade. James led the minors in strikeouts per nine innings (13.46) and strikeout rate (36.3%).
The Astros selected James in the 34th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. When he took the mound for the first time at Minute Maid Park, he became the lowest-drafted pitcher in franchise history to make a start for Houston.
Tucker, who also won Astros Minor League Player of the Year in 2017, batted .332 with 24 home runs and 93 RBI in 100 games at Triple-A this season. He was named a Pacific Coast League Midseason All-star and debuted with the Astros on July 7 at Minute Maid Park.
The fifth overall pick of the 2015 MLB draft finished 2017 with the Hooks, batting .265 in 72 games during Texas League action. He belted 16 home runs, 21 doubles, 47 RBI, and stole eight bases. Tucker began the 2018 season with Fresno after putting together an impressive Spring Training in Grapefruit League play.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.