A letter from a concerned Astros fan!
Dear Major League Baseball,
I have been a fan for many years and have written about the Astros for three years. Two years ago I started a talk show called Talking Stros. While I may not know everything about the Astros, I know they will not trade Forrest Whitley and Kyle Tucker. Stop asking for them!
It seems like a broken record for Jeff Luhnow.
Every time he calls another team about trading for someone, the first words out of their mouths are probably Whitley and Tucker. Luhnow has probably learned the nice way to decline those names. If I were him, I would laugh each time they are mentioned. “Don’t ya know who you are talking too?”
If we have learned anything about the past few seasons, the Astros don’t like trading their top prospects. This is why they have not acquired Chris Archer, Jose Quintana, or any other pitchers they were rumored to be after. Yes, they made the trade for Justin Verlander. But only after refusing to trade either one for him at the trade deadline, but were able to get him cheaper in August.
According to Jeff Passan, a trade for Gerrit Cole would need to have Tucker or Whitley as the centerpiece. Like Danny McGrath in the movie Billy Madison, I could see Luhnow shrugging and crossing another name of the list. But Luhnow will still keep on trying to get a top-line starter for 2018 and beyond.
This is no longer a secret, the Astros will look to add another top-line starter. The owner Jim Crane has come out and said it. The writing is on the wall that Whitley or Tucker are untouchable. That doesn’t mean teams won’t try to trade for them. Even Crane mentioned that they may have to dip into the farm system to get that top starter.
Who are they?
Tucker was drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft with the fifth overall pick out of H.B. Plant High School in Tampa, Florida. He was drafted three picks after rising stud Alex Bregman. While Bregman was fast-tracked because he was a college player, they have given Tucker a chance to develop. Tucker batted .274 with 25 homers and drove in 90 runs while stealing 21 bases. He may debut this year after hitting well in Double-A. Triple-A is the next step but no rush until needed.
Whitely was drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft out of Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio. The 20-year-old took full advantage of his first full season, wrapping up in Double-A with the Hooks. He had a 5-4 record with a 2.83 ERA while striking out 143 hitters in 92 1/3 innings. Whitley forecasts to be a top of the rotation pitcher, with ETA probably in 2019. Like Tucker, he could be called upon in 2018, but not likely.
Everyone wants these two prospects, but Luhnow is stubborn. For the right deal, such as Chris Archer, one of them may need to be included. With some of the current stars impending free agents in starting in 2019, they will need some players to replenish the roster. That is what Tucker and Whitley represent.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***