ROUND ROCK, Texas - The Pacific Coast League has selected Fresno Grizzlies outfielder Kyle Tucker and Round Rock Express right-hander Chris Rowley its Player and Pitcher of the Week for the period of August 20-26, 2018, the League office announced. Tucker's heroics featured a game-tying ninth-inning grand slam and two walk-off hits, one of which clinched the Pacific Northern Division for the Grizzlies. Rowley tossed two quality starts in a pair of Round Rock victories.
Tucker hit six home runs and drove in 13 over a five-game period, while hitting .560 (14-for-25), collecting multiple hits in each contest. He led the PCL for the week in a myriad of offensive categories, including batting average, hits, home runs, RBI, total bases (32), extra-base hits (6), runs (9), slugging percentage (1.280) and OPS (1.873). Tucker also stole three bases; in addition to his six home runs, he reached 20 or more in both categories for the season to become the first PCL player since 2015 to record a 20-20 (home runs-stolen bases) campaign.
Video: Tucker walks off Grizzlies to division championship
MLB Pipeline's No. 8 prospect started the week with his first career grand slam, August 22 at Sacramento, in a game Fresno would go on to win 10-8. Tucker finished the contest with three hits, including a pair of home runs, and five RBI. He matched a season-high with four hits the following night, driving in two on a home run in a Grizzlies win. On August 24 against Salt Lake, Tucker added another multi-home run game. It was his third such game of the year, a feat only six other PCL players have accomplished. Tucker's dramatic division-clinching home run, which capped a five-run Fresno rally, was the first of back-to-back walk-offs. The Florida native did so again on August 26, also against the Bees, with a 10th inning single.
Tucker had only just returned to Fresno after his second career Major League stint. In 94 games with Fresno this season, Tucker has slugged a PCL-best .580, driven in 87 runs and scored 81 runs. He has also hit .327 (127-for-388) and remains in the thick of the race for the League's batting title. The fifth overall pick of the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft made his Major League debut on July 7. In 20 games with Houston, he has collected eight hits and three RBI. This is his third career Player of the Week and second this season, previously being honored for the week of June 18-24 after hitting .577 (15-for-26) with four three-hit games.
Rowley allowed one run over a pair of six-inning starts, walking three and striking out 14. On August 21 against Nashville, Rowley tossed shutout ball, on only three hits and one walk, punching out seven, not factoring into the decision of Round Rock's 2-0 win. Then, on August 26 against New Orleans, Rowley again allowed three hits over six innings with seven strikeouts, giving up just one run in the Express' 3-2 win.
The 28-year-old has only been in the Rangers organization for a month, after being claimed off waivers from Toronto on July 23. In six starts for the Express, he has posted a 3.03 ERA (35.2 IP, 12 ER) with 28 strikeouts and 14 walks. Aside from two appearances with Toronto, he has spent the rest of the season with Triple-A Buffalo. The Atlanta, Georgia native pitched to a 3.30 ERA (101.0 IP, 37 ER) in 17 starts for the Bisons. The Rangers are Rowley's first organization other than the one that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of college. This is his first career Pitcher of the Week honor.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.