Astros’ Triple-A Notes: Tucker, Reed lead power surge

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 31: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros connects with the ball for a line out to left field against the Seattle Mariners in the at Safeco Field on July 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 31: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros connects with the ball for a line out to left field against the Seattle Mariners in the at Safeco Field on July 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /
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Houston Astros prospects Kyle Tucker and A.J. Reed went on a home run binge, while Yordan Alvarez cooled off a bit.

Two of Astros‘ AAA Round Rock Express hitters are finally heating up after slow starts. Outfielder Kyle Tucker and first baseman A. J. Reed carried the offense this week, while slugging phenom Yordan Alvarez hit a slump.

Meanwhile, Forrest Whitley continues to struggle on the mound. A pair of strong pitching performances by Cy Sneed and Jose Urquidy, however, have helped the Express this week.

Your weekly Alvarez and Whitley update:

After putting up otherworldly numbers this season, Alvarez finally cooled off. He’s managed just two total hits in his last six games, dropping his batting average to .365. This was bound to happen at some point, so it’s no cause for alarm. The real test will be to see how he responds.

For Whitley, however, things continue to get worse. He lasted just two innings in his latest start, coughing up seven runs on six hits and three walks with just one strikeout. His season ERA jumped to 12.21 with this outing.

Tucker’s exciting run:

Ensuring he’s not lost in the shuffle, Tucker has homered five times in his last seven games, including in each of the last four. He’s driven in eight runs in that span and raised his season average to .265.

Another important stat from this stretch: he’s walked five times and struck out only three times. That kind of ratio bodes well for his continued success at the plate.

Reed’s bat awakens:

Not to be outdone, Reed has totaled three homers and eight RBIs in his last six games. His overall numbers still aren’t pretty, with a .184 season average and .667 OPS. Still, it’s encouraging to see signs of life in his bat.

Sneed flirts with history:

Coming into his start on Wednesday, Sneed was in a rough stretch, as his ERA had ballooned to 6.30. Then he rifled off eight innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just one hit and no walks. He posted a 3.83 ERA in Triple-A in 2018, so there’s plenty of potential in the 26-year-old right-hander.

New name to watch: Jose Urquidy

The 24-year-old right-hander made his Double-A debut in April and was subsequently called up to Round Rock earlier this month. Sandwiched between a pair of underwhelming performances, Urquidy struck out 12 batters in six innings on Tuesday, allowing just one run.

Next. Astros' Aledmys Diaz injured, Jack Mayfield called up. dark

He’s struck out 27 hitters in his first 14.1 innings in Triple-A, continuing a history of solid swing and miss totals. With some additional development, he could become a factor in the big leagues.

***Statistics courtesy of MiLB.com***

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