HOUSTON -- The Astros player development department named outfielder Kyle Tucker its Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Forrest Whitley its Minor League Pitcher of the Year Thursday.
Tucker batted .274 with 70 runs scored, 33 doubles, five triples, 25 homers, 90 RBIs, 21 steals, and an .874 OPS over 120 combined games between Double-A Corpus Christi and Class A Advanced Buies Creek. As one of the youngest position players in both the Carolina and Texas Leagues at age 20, he was one of just 10 in minor league baseball to record 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Tucker was selected by Houston with the fifth overall pick of the 2015 draft and has developed into one of the game's highest-rated prospects. The left-handed hitter represented Houston in this year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Currently rated by MLB.com as the No. 7 overall prospect, Tucker became the youngest minor league player to post a 20-homer, 20-steal, 90-RBI season since Cubs infielder Javier Baez did so in 2013 at 20 years old.
Whitley dominated at three minor league levels despite pitching the entire season at 19 years of age, going 5-4 with a 2.83 ERA (29 ER/92 IP), 34 walks, 78 hits allowed, and 143 strikeouts in 23 games (18 starts) between Double-A Corpus Christi, Class A Advanced Buies Creek, and Class A Quad Cities. Selected by the Astros with the 16th overall pick in last year's draft, the 6-foot-7 right-hander led the minor leagues in strikeouts per nine innings (13.94).
According to Baseball America, Whitley is 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 Chad Billingsley, Dylan Bundy, Zack Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw. He was tabbed by Yahoo! Sports as the 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year and was runner-up for ESPN.com's MLB Prospect of the Year.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.