Astros call up phenom Kyle Tucker and demote Jake Marisnick

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Tucker #79 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 21, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Kyle Tucker #79 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 21, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros have called up their next star Kyle Tucker, who has been red-hot at the plate recently.

Kyle Tucker was supposed to represent the Fresno Grizzlies at the Triple-A All-Star game on July 11. Instead, he will don Astros gear today. Astros fans have asked for Tucker since the super two deadline passed in June. This kid is not someone that the Astros will call up as a fourth outfielder. Tucker will be the primary left-fielder. He earned the nickname Ted this spring.

According to Jake Kaplan, Tucker has been called up with Jake Marisnick being sent down. The team has won four games in a row and scored 11 runs last night, but the front office felt that it was time for Tucker. While he won’t be the youngest player to debut for the Astros, he is the youngest since Carlos Correa in 2015. The 21-year-old outfielder will be the youngest active player in the American League, via Chandler Rome.

Tucker is not only the top Astros prospect, but he is the eighth best prospect in baseball, via MLB Pipeline. He is a potential five star player with a .306 batting average with 14 homers and 66 RBI while stealing 14 bases in Triple-A. Tucker had a spring training that should have earned him a spot on the Astros roster, batting .409 with five homers and 21 RBI via Unfortunately, the Astros were worried about service time and wanted him to develop more.

There were some hints that this was coming.

While many people expected Tucker to participate in the All-Star Futures game, he was left off the roster. Craig Mish speculated that this meant he was about to get the call because the MLB often inquires on availability. Mish told people to pick up Tucker because the Astros likely told them he was being promoted.

Some people speculated that Tucker was indeed on the way up because he was not on the Grizzlies roster last night. The Grizzlies tried to remind people that players do get days off, but people did not buy that. Yordan Alvarez got the call-up to Triple-A yesterday, which crowded the Grizzlies outfield. Jake Kaplan wrote about how they would alleviate the crowded AAA outfield yesterday. (subscription required.)

A look at why now.

With Carlos Correa still on the DL, the Astros felt like they needed more offense from left field. Marwin Gonzalez has played shortstop mostly since Correa hit the DL. That left Tony Kemp and Marisnick playing as the third outfielder. While you can’t argue the energy and passion of Kemp, it was time for Tucker to make his debut.

The decision had to come down to Kemp and Marisnick. They went with Kemp because of what he can do at the plate. Both are good defenders, but Marisnick is on a whole different level. Kemp has an infielders arm in the outfield but still has enough to get the job done. This could be a blessing in disguise for Marisnick to get regular at-bats in Triple-A to gear up for the playoffs. Will talk more about this later.

The offense is good; Tucker is not expected to be the savior.

Unlike Alex Bregman, George Springer, and Carlos Correa, Tucker will not be expected to fix the offense. The Astros have a +181 run differential with a 116 wRC+; both are the best in the MLB. Team stats via and Fangraphs. The Red Sox (467) have scored more runs than the Astros (458). But the Houston pitching staff has allowed the fewest runs (277).

According to Rome, Tucker will wear jersey number 3. AJ Hinch said that Tucker would bat seventh today and play in left field via Brian McTaggart. While he could move up in the lineup down the road, it’s doubtful he bats higher than sixth this year. They went to put as little pressure as possible on their young star.

Next: Astros AM Breakdown: Lance McCullers and the wonder of his curveball

In the last 28 days with the Grizzlies, Tucker has batted .390 with six homers and 20 RBI while stealing six bases. The best time to call up a prospect is when he is needed, and he is hot. This is the case for Tucker as we should see him in left field on most nights. Tucker bats left-handed and is batting above .300 versus right and left-handed pitchers. He is not a platoon type of player but will take a seat occasionally for Kemp. Can’t wait for first pitch today.