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Houston Astros: Is Preston Tucker expendable?

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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 /
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What is Preston Tucker‘s future in a Houston Astros uniform?

According to an article printed by MLB Trade Rumors, it was reported by MASN Sports that the Baltimore Orioles were talking to the Houston Astros about trading for Preston Tucker this offseason. The trade talks died down however when the Orioles would not trade their former prized right handed pitching prospect Kevin Gausman as a part of the deal for Tucker. Tucker’s position on this club is pretty much determined as a fourth or fifth outfielder and maybe some reps at first base. However, with news of this potential deal just coming out, do the Astros still believe Tucker is expendable?

First, let’s look at how Tucker has done in the Astros organization. He drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Florida with loads of offensive potential. He proved that in the Astros minor league system. In his minor league career, Tucker hit 68 home runs and drove in 270 runners. He also hit .294 with an OPS of .867.

So, how did that translate in the majors? In his first 98 games in an Astros uniform, Tucker hit 13 home runs and drove in 33 runners while hitting .243 with an OPS of .437.

Although it was decent in the minors, he batting average and on base percentage steeply dropped when he was called up to the majors. How can you explain this? First, look at his strikeout totals. In 2014 between Double-A Corpus Christi and then Triple-A Oklahoma City, Tucker struck out 120 times in his 138 games. When he came to the majors when the strikeouts in his game seemed to stay, his walk total dropped to almost non-existent. In his 98 games in the majors, Tucker walked 20 times compared to the 12 times he walked for in 33 games for Triple-A Fresno before he was called up in 2015.

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With the Astros outfielders already set with Colby Rasmus, Carlos Gomez, and George Springer, Tucker was fighting for a fourth or fifth outfielder spot coming into Spring Training. He was not amazing, but he did not do terrible, hitting .267 with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs in 14 games played. His OPS was very impressive though at .795.

Maybe a couple of years ago Tucker could have developed while starting in left field for the Astros. However with the Astros in contention and expectations, there is no room in the starting lineup for question marks. It was good for the Astros looking to deal Tucker for more major league talent such as Gausman.

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With a needed defensive outfielder such as Jake Marisnick taking hold of that fourth outfielder spot and more outfielder prospects such as Derek Fisher, Daz Cameron, possibly Tony Kemp, and his brother Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings, I don’t see Preston Tucker having much of a role on this team going forward unless he does something drastic.

**Statistics provided by Baseball-Reference**

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