ROUND ROCK, Texas - What a year! On the heels of a historic campaign, the Round Rock Express have named OF Kyle Tucker the team's Most Valuable Player for the 2019 season. Tucker became the first player in Express franchise history to lead the club in home runs, RBI and stolen bases while also becoming just the fifth player in the 116-year history of the Pacific Coast League to record a 30-30 season.
The top prospect in the Houston Astros organization posted a career year with the Express in 2019, setting new career highs in a variety of offensive categories, including home runs (34), RBI (97), runs scored (92), total bases (257), walks (60) and games played (125). He concluded the 2019 campaign with a .266 batting average after collecting 123 hits, including 26 doubles and three triples, in 463 at-bats with the Express.
The 22-year-old led the Express in several offensive categories, including home runs, steals, runs scored and total bases while tying for the team lead in games played. Tucker became the first player in the franchise's 20-year history to lead the team in home runs, RBI and stolen bases in the same season. His 30 steals also led all Pacific Coast League players while his 34 homers ranked fifth in the league. Tucker finished among league leaders in extra-base hits with 63, a mark that tied for seventh in the circuit, and his 97 RBI tied for eighth in the PCL this season.
A defensive stud, Tucker committed just one error in 260 total chances for a .996 fielding percentage while appearing in 60 games in right field, 40 in left field and another 11 at first base. The outfielder by trade appeared at first base for the first time in his career this season.
The Tampa, Florida native etched his name into the history books on August 24, becoming the fifth player in the 116-year history of the Pacific Coast League to record at least 30 home runs and 30 steals in a single season. Tucker joined Albuquerque's Joc Pederson (2014), Los Angeles' Frank Demaree (1934), San Francisco's Lefty O'Doul (1927) and Salt Lake City's Tony Lazzeri (1925) in the prestigious PCL 30-30 club.
With the feat, Tucker also became just the fifth player in Round Rock Express history to record a season of at least 20 home runs and 20 steals, joining OF Jared Hoying (2014 & 2015), INF Cody Ransom (2007), INF Keith Ginter (2000) and OF Eric Cole (2000). With 24 home runs and 20 steals a year ago with the Fresno Grizzlies, Tucker also became the third player in PCL history to record back-to-back 20-20 seasons in the circuit.
Tucker racked up the accolades with the Express, being named both a midseason and postseason PCL All-Star, joining RHP R.J. Alvarez (2018), OF Willie Calhoun (2017) and RHP Jon Edwards (2015) as the only players in Round Rock franchise history to accomplish that feat. He was also named the Houston Astros Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America.
He earned PCL Player of the Month honors in May, becoming the third player in Express history to take home a PCL Player of the Month Award, joining teammate OF Yordan Alvarez (April 2019) and former E-Train C J.R. House (August 2006). Shortly thereafter, Tucker was named the Houston Astros Minor League Player of the Month for May after hitting to a .333 batting average (36-108) with seven doubles and 28 RBI in 28 games during the month.
Tucker posted a .333/.429/.741 slash line in May after collecting at least one base hit in 22 of his 28 games played, including a nine-game hitting streak from May 23-31 in which he hit an even .500 (19-38) with two doubles, four home runs, eight RBI and 11 runs scored. He homered in four consecutive games from May 23-26, becoming the first E-Train hitter to accomplish that feat since INF Tommy Field did so from July 4-7, 2015.
Throughout his decorated career, Tucker has been named an MiLB.com Organizational All-Star in each of his first three full seasons within the Astros organization. He is also a three-time PCL Player of the Week award winner, three-time midseason All-Star, two-time PCL Player of the Month recipient and was named both a PCL and an MiLB All-Star by Baseball America in both 2018 and 2019.
Originally drafted fifth overall by Houston in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft, Tucker made his major league debut a year ago after parts of just four seasons within the club's farm system. He is currently ranked as the top prospect in the Astros organization, and the #12 prospect in baseball, by MLB.com. He was recalled by the Astros on September 2, where he has hit .304 (17-56) with six doubles, three homers, 10 RBI and 11 runs scored in his first 18 games back with the club.
Former Round Rock Express MVP award winners include: INF Hanser Alberto (2018), INF Ronald Guzman (2017), INF Doug Bernier and C Brett Nicholas (2016), INF Ed Lucas (2015), OF Jared Hoying (2014), OF Jim Adduci (2013), OF Joey Butler (2012), INF Esteban German (2011), OF Drew Locke (2010), INF Tommy Manzella (2009), INF Mark Saccomanno (2008), INF Cody Ransom (2007), INF Joe McEwing (2006), INF Mike Coolbaugh (2005), INF Brooks Conrad (2004), INF Chris Burke (2003), OF Henri Stanley (2002), OF Jason Lane (2001) and INF Keith Ginter (2000).
For more information on the Express, visit RRExpress.com or call (512) 255-2255. Keep up with the Express on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and join the conversation during our historic 20th season using #20STROng.