Kyle Tucker, aka ‘Ted,’ is playing well this spring, but won’t make the Astros opening day roster.
Astros fans need to temper their excitement for Kyle Tucker making the opening day roster. While he is having a great Spring, batting .333 with three homers and 8 RBIs, his years of control will dictate when he debuts. Just like we saw with George Springer and Carlos Correa, he will have to wait until early June at the earliest.
However, unless there is a need for Tucker to play every day, he won’t get called up early to begin his arbitration clock. Part of the Astros plan is to have a constant flow of young players into the lineup who will play cheaply. They most likely will wait until September, but he will battle for a job in 2019.
Hunter Atkins mentioned that the financial benefits of waiting is part of it, but he is 21-years-old and needs to finish developing at the plate. While Tucker remains in camp, he is playing to prove that he will be an option down the road. As Atkins hinted, he will start the season in Double-A.
If there is a need, Tucker will get the call.
As we have seen in the past, the Astros have not been hesitant to call someone up early when there is a need. They did that with Alex Bregman, Lance McCullers, and Vince Velasquez. Just because a player is at the Double-A level doesn’t mean anything, they are not afraid to call those players up.
A.J. Hinch confirmed this via Atkins, “we tell our guys once you get to Double-A you’re an option…But it’s not right now.” Hinch came out and said that Tucker would not make the opening day roster. They feel like he has a great swing and will have great success in the MLB, but he needs to work on what pitches to swing at.
When minor league camps start opening, you will see some of the young players like Tucker be sent down. Right now they are being used to get the regular eased into action after playing into November last year. Some of the first cuts will start happening soon. Then you will see the regular players play more to build up stamina.
The future is bright with Tucker.
With Tucker’s rise up the minor league level, fans have a nostalgic feeling of waiting for Springer and Correa. Maybe a lesser degree, but he has a Hunter Pence anticipation feel. It’s not hard to see why Tucker hit .274 with 25 homers plus 90 RBIs and 21 steals last year. He did so between High-A and Double-A.
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MLB Pipeline ranks him as the 13th overall top prospect in baseball. His hot start has opened some eyes, but we will have to be patient. Some fans felt that a door opened with Yuli Gurriel’s surgery, but I would disagree. This benefits J.D. Davis and Tyler White now. Now if something happens to Jake Marisnick or Derek Fisher, things could change down the road.
When there is a need and the Astros think Tucker is ready, he will get the call. Don’t expect it in the first half of the season, unless they have a desperate need. If the Astros offense starts off stagnant, Tucker could be called up to help jump start it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him join the Astros back to Houston for the two games versus the Brewers.
Part of the plan is to be patient. They will do that with Tucker. Look how patient they were with Justin Verlander, I think that worked out well.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***