Will Kyle Tucker get his opportunity with the Astros?
If you’ve followed the Houston Astros for the past two or three years, you’re probably aware of who the elite prospects in the system are. You probably know about how prospects tend to project, how fast they tend to excel through the system, even if every player excels at different speeds, and how lenient the organization tends to be, especially with top tier, blue chip, players. They give opportunity after opportunity for players to succeed, because frankly, graduating from the Triple-A level to the Major leagues isn’t easy, and a lot of players need time to adjust.
A.J. Reed, Derek Fisher, Francis Martes, J.D. Davis, Colin Moran. These are all names in the past few years that have been given a chance after chance to adjust the Majors. There are plenty of others, but these players, in particular, have had three or four shots at improving their stock and showing they’re capable of playing at the highest level, but haven’t yet reached their potential, and quite frankly might be running out of opportunities.
Colin Moran was traded last offseason for Gerrit Cole, along with other players, but even before the transaction, he had been given multiple shots to prove his worth. The Astros are great at evaluating talent and knowing what they have. Now, not everything will pan out. As it's been said many times, “baseball is hard.” It’s a tough sport. It may be the toughest sport, and things don’t always work out for players trying to break in, but the Astros don’t give up easily.
So, should we give up on Tucker?
Repetition is key when writing about Tucker, personally, and It can’t be said enough. Tucker has not spent enough time at the Major League level for everyone to completely give up on him. A first-round draft pick out of H.B. Plant high school, Tucker has excelled at every level he has played at. In rookie league Greeneville he hit .286. At Quad Cities, he hit .276. At Lancaster, he hit .339. At Buies Creek, he hit .288.
At Corpus Christi, he hit .265, and in his last stop at Fresno, he hit .332. In four total minor league seasons, he had 433 hits, 61 home runs, 285 RBI’s, 97 doubles, 17 triples, an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .849. Folks that may be the minor leagues, but as it was stated earlier, “Baseball is hard.” It’s hard to put up these numbers at any level, and Tucker has. The past two seasons he’s won the organization’s player of the year award, and it wasn’t because he’s an average player. He’s earned the nickname, “Ted,” for a reason.
Why shouldn’t we give up on him?
There’re a few reasons why Kyle Tucker is here to stay. Now it’s unfair to write this and not talk about his struggles. To not acknowledge them would be silly. He had a bad time his first go round. He didn’t hit. He played the outfield lackadaisically. He didn’t seem like he was ready for the big dance, and hey, many guys aren’t. However, it’s also unfair, knowing what we know about how the Astros handle prospects, to pretend that his entire minor league tenure is just complete rubbish.
Yes, the Major Leagues are different. Yes, there’s an adjustment that most players need to make. Many adjustments, if one can say that. Tucker played twenty-eight games for Houston. Sixty-four at-bats. Sixty-four. How can anyone look at his history, look at the Astros and how successful they’ve been molding prospects, look at seventy-two plate appearances, and think that Tucker is done, and the Astros are done with him as well. It doesn’t make sense. There’s a reason why they weren’t even discussing his name until recently in trade talks. Granted, he has been mentioned in a few lately, but it’s been for elite players. J.T. Realmuto, Noah Syndergaard, etc.
He won’t get dealt
Even in the talks with Miami, and New York, the price is still too high. If the Astros wanted to trade Tucker, they would’ve done it by now. If there were any doubt about how he plays or how he’s going to turn out, they would’ve shipped him off to another team. He’s still valued. Tucker is still number five on the top 100 prospects list for all of baseball.
Twenty-eight games aren’t enough to accurately judge how a player’s career is going to turn out, and the Astros know that. We’re all outsiders looking in, trying to make our best judgment on if he should stay or not, but there’s a reason Tucker is going to be playing in 2019 for the Astros, and it’s not because a deal couldn’t be found for him, because there are plenty of teams who’d want him. The Astros believe in Kyle Tucker, and so should we.
**All Stats Courtesy of baseball-reference.com and MLB.Com*