Astros Need to Promote Tyler White or Preston Tucker
Maybe it’s time the Astros give two hitters a second chance
It’s time to take a break from the bring up Alex Bregman call-up campaign to recognize a few others who could help the team at the moment. Through the CTH Twitter handle, I get daily reminders about the low batting averages of several of the Astros on the current 25-man roster. With Bregman’s rumored impending promotion, playing time might be diminishing for several players.
Jeff Luhnow has said on several occasions that Bregman is showing that he is ready, but so are several players on the Triple-A Fresno roster. Players who started the season on the opening day roster, Preston Tucker and Tyler White, have rediscovered their swings and could offer some offensive help. Teoscar Hernandez has been overshadowed by Bregman since his arrival but has been almost as hot at the plate.
Currently on the roster hitting .200 or below are Danny Worth (.194), Jake Marisnick (.194), and A.J. Reed (.143). As I wrote yesterday, Reed is the future, but he is not ready yet for big league pitching. Usually, with a top prospect like Reed, you don’t want to sit him down after his call-up. However, he is not playing every day, which could be hindering his development as a hitter.
Related Story: Astros’ A.J. Reed is the future, but he may not be ready
Worth is up here to serve as a Marwin Gonzalez type player while Margo often plays at first base, but he has not proven much at the big league level. He is the 25th man on the roster who manager A.J. Hinch has to find time for him. Someone who plays often is Marisnick, either he starts in the outfield or pinch-runs for a slugger late in a game.
The Astros offense has sputtered lately, it could use a pick-me-up. If Bregman’s hint is true and he is coming up Friday, that could help. Let’s assume that Bregman is coming up, let’s send Worth down. This would push Luis Valbuena to first base, and Reed and Evan Gattis would get the majority of the time as the designated hitter. However, Reed’s struggles could continue.
Let’s look at the players I mentioned who could help.
Tucker started the season as the designated hitter while Gattis was on the disabled list, but he lost his swing due to a drop in playing time when Gattis returned. He came on Talking Stros recently and talked about how he has fixed his swing. Despite batting .176 in his time with the Astros, he has been one of the Grizzlies better hitters with a slash line of .297/ .344/ .515/ .859 while hitting eight homers and 28 RBI’s.
With four outfielders on the Astros 25-man roster, Tucker will mostly play as designated hitter when Gattis is catching or not in the lineup. Him being left-handed would be a perfect complement in a platoon with Gattis. Things could change when Yulieski Gurriel comes, but until mid-August, we could give Tucker a chance. This would send Reed or Marisnick down.
Listen to Tucker on Talking Stros below.
White lost what made him a great hitter following his breakout April, and he went from being a good hitter with power to a guy trying to hit every ball out of the park. He developed a bad habit of leaning back on breaking balls. He just lost what made him so good in the minor leagues, but he appears to have rediscovered it with more playing time in Triple-A. With the Astros, White batted .214 with seven homers.
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With the Triple-A Grizzlies, White has a slash line of .314/ .369/ .657/ 1.026 while hitting ten homers and 20 RBI’s. Assuming he will get enough playing time, he could offer some pop, but it would make it more difficult in a platoon with Gattis being right-handed. Valbuena will get the bulk of the playing time at first.
As much as I would like to say that Hernandez would get the call right now, I think Tucker and Tony Kemp are ahead of him at the moment. Hernandez has a slash line of .311/ .385/ .470/ .856 between Double-A and Triple-A while hitting nine homers and stealing 30 bases in 2016. The Astros may give him a chance as a September call-up, but he should be a big part of the plans for 2017.
Next: Astros’ Prospect Bregman Hints at Promotion Friday
The Astros are not going to send Marisnick down, but it’s hard to carry three hitters hitting below .200 on a playoff team. We will have to see what actually happens, but it’s great to have the depth the Astros do. This player will most likely have to go down when Gurriel is ready.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***