Shay Whitcomb Leads MILB In Home Runs For 2023

The Astros fifth round draft pick in 2020 finished the 2023 season with an MILB-leading 35 home runs.
Hooks shortstop Shay Whitcomb throws to first base at Whataburger Field on Wednesday, May 3, 2023,
Hooks shortstop Shay Whitcomb throws to first base at Whataburger Field on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, / Angela Piazza/Caller-Times / USA TODAY

The Astros have produced many a slugger in their day. In recent history, names like George Springer, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Yainer Diaz and Carlos Correa have come through their system.

For the most part, they've all been high-contact, high on-base guys.

They do have one prospect in their system that has displayed light tower power, but hasn't strung together a consistent ability to reach base: Shay Whitcomb.

Shay Whitcomb finished his 2023 minor league season with 35 home runs, tying St. Paul's Yunior Severino for the most in the MILB.

While they finished with an identical home run total, Whitcomb won the Joe Bauman Home Run Award given to the minor leaguer with the most home runs in a season by virtue of the RBI tiebreaker. Whitcomb drove in 102 runs while Severino knocked in 84.

His 35 big flies were the most for an Astros prospect since George Springer hit 37 in 2013.

Whitcomb played 133 games this season across AA and AAA, spending most of his season with AAA Sugar Land.

In 87 games with Sugar Land, Whitcomb hit 23 of his home runs, but he did so while hitting only .224 with a .714 OPS. In his 46 games with AA Corpus Christi, Whitcomb hit 12 bombs with a .273 average and .886 OPS.

Across both levels, Whitcomb finished with a .240 average and .771 OPS.

His 35 home runs weren't his only prodigious totals; Whitcomb also struck out 178 times in his 133 games.

If Whitcomb can find a way to make consistent contact and cut down on his strikeouts, his ability to pull the baseball in the air with power gives him a chance to crack a big league roster down the road.

The Astros #25 prospect also stole 20 bases for the second consecutive season. Since 2006, only six other prospects have hit 35+ home runs while stealing 20+ bases in a season.