Kyle Tucker is the Astros’ #2 prospect and is ranked eighth in all of baseball. Has he proven himself still worthy of that lofty position?
Houston Astros‘ GM Jeff Luhnow considered Tucker as one of the untouchable prospects this past offseason in any trade talks. Did Luhnow miss the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot? Looking at Tucker’s performance dating back to his callup to Houston last season, his value could possibly be in decline.
The outfielder has already dropped in MLB’s pipeline top prospects list from last season. In 2018, he was ranked fifth in the majors and has dropped three places to eighth in the new 2019 list. In Houston’s top 30 prospect list, Forrest Whitley overtook the top spot, knocking Tucker down to second. Pipeline usually makes an adjustment to their rankings around May. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.
The 22-year-old has had a miserable start to his AAA season with the Round Rock Express. Tucker has played in all eleven games with 41 plate appearances. His slash line to date is a lowly .108/.195/.216 which is currently second to last on the team. The only player below him is Drew Ferguson who’s only played in four games and has just nine ABs. Tucker has a total of two extra-base hits in his 37 at-bats.
Some might say that those numbers are just an anomaly, it’s too early in the season to judge his performance. Unfortunately, those stats don’t differentiate much from what he did when he was called up to Houston last July. Tucker played in 28 games with the Astros in 2018 and slashed .141/.236/.203 with just three extra-base hits in 72 plate appearances.
Tucker was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year and had a mediocre showing. He played in 15 games and ended the Spring batting .276 with three extra-base hits in his 34 plate appearances. But even those numbers placed him around 17th on the team in offensive performance.
The #2 prospect for Houston hasn’t been playing top prospect type ball for a time now. If he doesn’t start picking up his performance level, he’s not going to be ranked up there for long. There are players like Yordan Alvarez and Myles Straw that are peaking and may pass Tucker up before he knows it.