Tucker, Whitley nab Astros' Minor League kudos

Club's top two prospects excelled across multiple levels in 2017

Kyle Tucker set career highs with 33 doubles, 25 homers and 90 RBIs in 2017. (Tammy Tucker/MiLB.com)

By Alex Kraft / MiLB.com | September 22, 2017 12:00 AM

Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley had plenty to live up to this season as the Astros' most recent first-round picks, and the duo more than delivered on the hype.

Houston's top position player and pitching prospect was named the organization's Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year on Thursday. Both players are under 21 years old.

Taken fifth overall by Houston in the 2015 Draft, Tucker began the season at Class A Advanced Buies Creek. MLB.com's No. 7 overall prospect put together a .288/.379/.554 slash line over 48 games in the Carolina League before earning a promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi on May 30. His production dipped a bit at the higher level -- he compiled a .265/.325/.512 line in 72 games for the Hooks -- but he still finished with a .274 average, 33 doubles, 25 home runs, 90 RBIs and 21 steals combined across both levels.

Video: Corpus Christi's Tucker belts leadoff homer

Tucker represented the Astros at the Futures Game, where he went 1-for-3 with an RBI. The 20-year-old center fielder was one of 10 players in the Minors to hit at least 20 long balls and swipe 20 or more bases.

Whitley surpassed Tucker as the youngest player on Corpus Christi's roster after earning a promotion from Buies Creek on Aug. 17. The 17th overall pick in the 2016 Draft started his first full season in Class A Quad Cities, but quickly forced his way to the Carolina League on July 2 after posting a 2-3 record with a 2.91 ERA and 67 strikeouts over 46 1/3 innings in 12 appearances. The 6-foot-7 right-hander went 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA and 50 whiffs over 31 1/3 innings with Buies Creek.

Whitley's numbers improved upon reaching the Texas League. MLB.com's No. 36 overall prospect compiled a 1.84 ERA while limiting opponents to a .157 average and striking out 26 in 14 2/3 frames spanning four appearances. Overall, his rate of 13.94 strikeouts per nine innings led the Minors.

Video: Hooks' Whitley records 11th strikeout

The pair will be honored before the Astros game against the Angels on Sunday.

Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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