The Astros farm system is deep and the hope is to keep churning out quality players. Last month proved once again why this is the case.
As we all transfix our attention to the Astros remarkable season at the major league level, we must remember the minor leagues are in full swing as well. Let’s just say there is a reason why the future in Houston still shines bright.
Two Astros’ farmhands, Tyler White and Forrest Whitley, have been honored as the Minor League Player of the Month and Pitcher of the Month for June.
Like I, everyone should be familiar with White, who is currently in his age-26 season with the Fresno Grizzlies. The infielder had a particularly impressive month of June at the plate.
.381/.455/.733, 1.189 OPS, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 10 2B, 13 BB, 21 SO in 105 at-bats
White’s showing in June eclipsed his double (5), home run (4) and RBI (19) totals in April and May combined. The month of June also pushed White’s OPS up to .858 on the season.
His five-hit game on June 16th was likely his most notable performance during this time. He also had a four-hit game on June 15th. White’s batting average climbed from .284 to .307 from June 14th to June 16th.
Perhaps his June performance may convince the Astros to keep White on the short-list of players when the occasion arises to promote another position player.
Whitely, the Astros first-round pick in 2016, finds himself climbing the organizational ladder in 2017.
After starting the season with the Class-A Quad Cities River Bandits, the organization promoted him to the High-A Buies Creek Astros. His performance in June with the River Bandits, in particular, was worth noting.
20.2 IP, 18 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 12 BB, 31 SO, .246 AVG
In three of Whitley’s five outings in June, he allowed zero earned runs and eight hits. He also accumulated 21 strikeouts during these three outings.
The most innings he has pitched in a single outing was 5.1 innings on June 28th, which was also his last start for Quad Cities. This isn’t a surprising development, though, as the Astros want to bring Whitley along in a particular way.
Following his promotion, Whitley arguably pitched his best game of the season.
5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 SO
The progress Whitley has shown in the past month, and subsequent promotion, demonstrates why the Astros tabbed him as the Minor League Pitcher of the Month.
Kudos to both Astros farmhands on their recognition by the organization. It is clear that both are viewed in a positive light by the Astros franchise. Only time will tell, though, if this translates to eventual major league production.
**Statistics courtesy of MiLB.com**