Houston Astros: Bold Predictions Based On Spring Training

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Aug 21, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers (54) waves to the crowd after pitching a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Dodgers 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 21, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Mike Fiers (54) waves to the crowd after pitching a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Dodgers 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Preston Tucker Will Establish Himself as Astros Designated Hitter in 2016 and Never Look Back

Mar 17, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Preston Tucker (20) is congratulated manager A.J. Hinch (14) and teammates as he hit s 2-run home run during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Preston Tucker (20) is congratulated manager A.J. Hinch (14) and teammates as he hit s 2-run home run during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Besides establishing a reputation as a (Detroit) Tiger Killer in 2015, Preston Tucker became a force in the Astros lineup for a large portion of the season. Bam-Bam also became a fan favorite with his laid back personality and clutch late-inning hits and home runs.

So far, all Tucker has done in 2016 is get better. In Spring Training, Tucker is lighting it up with a .292/.346/.583 slash line, two home runs, six RBIs, and only five strikeouts. The only thing slowing Tucker down in Florida during the last few weeks is…

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With Evan Gattis sidelined to begin the season, I believe that Tucker will get his opportunity at designated hitter on Opening Day. Tucker has his issues in the outfield, but at the plate, he’s a patient hitter who can hit for a lot of power and also for contact. The Astros will look to have an elite defensive outfield with George Springer, Carlos Gomez, Colby Rasmus, and Jake Marisnick. Tucker, although he can hold his own out there, does not have nearly the defensive ability of this group.

When Gattis returns, the Astros will definitely have a decision to make, but my bold prediction is that Tucker will have the position locked up by that point. Baseball Reference projects Tucker to hit 13 home runs, drive in 39 RBIs, and produce a slash line of .254/.311/.435 in 2016.

I believe that Tucker can and will blow away these numbers, hitting 22 home runs and driving in around 70 RBIs this season. His average will hover around .270, and he will maintain a low number of strikeouts. The Astros will rely on Tucker to be a hitter that isn’t as free-swinging as the rest of the club, and Tucker will do his job.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch indicated earlier this week that Tucker is out of the mix at first base, but that does not mean that he won’t make the Opening Day roster. It would be the biggest mistake of the young 2016 season for Houston as Tucker is primed to have a breakout performance in 2016 and solidify himself as the Astros’ designated hitter of the future.

Next: Michael Feliz Should Be Next Man Up in Astros Rotation

I hope you all enjoyed these bold predictions for the half of the roster that I watched a couple weeks ago. If even one of these predictions comes true, all Astros fans will be ecstatic.

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