Welcome back to the Astros Preston Tucker
While all eyes were on Alex Bregman at last night’s Fresno Grizzlies game, Preston Tucker was the one who told reporters that it was him going back up with the Houston Astros. Tucker has earned the promotion with his play at Triple-A, I will talk more about what he worked on down in Fresno a little later in the post. There was so much speculation that Bregman was going to be promoted that Astros fans are a little disappointed, but glad to have Tucker back.
With this move, A.J. Reed went down to Triple-A to work on things. He will be back and I still think that he is the future at first base, but he needed to get back to the minors before he started to doubt himself. Danny Worth stays for now, and he will see an increase in playing time with Reed down and we are down to five infielders, but Bregman will soon be here.
Marwin Gonzalez and Luis Valbuena will take turns at first base, but Gonzalez is the primary first baseman at the moment. Worth will get some starts at third base, and Valbuena will move to first base during those rare games. Tucker has played first before, so he could be an emergency first baseman if needed.
Tucker will mostly split time as the designated hitter with Evan Gattis. Tucker will sit versus left-handed pitchers until he can prove he can handle them. Tucker will get plenty of playing time when Gattis catches, or they face a tough right-hander. The problem with having Tucker up is that he is that he needs regular at-bats to keep sharp.
We talked to Tucker recently on Talking Stros before his call up. You can listen (1-hour mark) below or read on.
Talking Stros: When the Astros sent you down, did they tell you to work on anything?
Tucker: It was more about my approach, I wasn’t getting a whole lot of playing time up there. They mostly wanted me to get consistent at-bats and work on my plate discipline. When I was only playing four days a week, it was hard to work on my approach and focused too much on the results versus my approach. The time down here has worked, I feel like I have a better approach and seeing the ball well. I’m playing with the potential that I think I have.
Talking Stros: What has been your biggest improvement in your numbers?
Tucker: I’m not worried about numbers, I’m more concerned with going up with a plan and sticking to that plan. When I was up earlier, I was focusing on that one hit or that one run versus sticking to a plan at the plate. At first, I struggled down in Triple-A, then I tried focusing on everything but hitting the ball hard.
Talking Stros: Is it easy to get power happy in the big leagues?
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Tucker: You can say, that when I was going up there results oriented, especially in the DH role, I was just trying to hit home runs. When you start struggling, you think a home run will fix all, so that is how you approach it at the plate.
Talking Stros: As the DH, how did you spend your time in between at-bats?
Tucker: I would be down in the cages staying loose, I would hardly ever be watching the game if I knew my at-bat was coming. I would be down in the clubhouse on a bike or watching videos of the opposing pitchers, or hitting in the cages. Just spent the time trying to stay loose and keep my mind active, rather than just hanging out and losing focus of the game.
With the Fresno Grizzlies, Tucker had a slash line of .301/ .349/ .512/ .861 with eight homers and 29 RBI. He will play a lot of DH and some in the outfield, but the Astros need the left-handed power option off the bench or to compliment Gattis at DH. With Carlos Gomez and Colby Rasmus probably leaving as free agents, the Astros will have openings in the outfield. This is Tucker’s audition.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***