Astros: Kyle Tucker named PCL Player of the Month
Houston Astros top prospect Kyle Tucker has been named PCL Player of the Month.
For the second time this season, a member of the Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate Round Rock Express has earned the Pacific Coast League Player of the Month award. Outfielder Kyle Tucker garners the distinction for the month of May following teammate Yordan Alvarez winning in April.
Tucker hit .333 in the month of May with a league-leading 11 homers. This comes after Tucker endured a rough start to the season, hitting just .159 through May 1. His numbers currently sit at .259/.333/.602 on the season.
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Tucker has belted 18 homers through his first 53 games this season after homering 24 times in 100 Triple-A games in 2018. He did not hit a home run in his 28 MLB games in 2018, and overall hit just .141/.236/.203 during his time in the show.
Despite that, he is still listed as the team’s No. 2 prospect, one spot ahead of Alvarez. This is a guy who tore up Triple-A pitching in 2018, posting a .989 OPS. Still just 22 years of age, Tucker is nowhere near becoming a bust, yet has been overshadowed by Alvarez in the eyes of many fans.
Tough Decision Ahead
Tucker’s sterling month of May has raised an interesting question. Many would assume Alvarez is first in line to be called up, and he’s certainly earned it. The 1.216 OPS he’s posted this season seems like something from a video game, and he continues to strike fear in opposing pitchers and managers. But Tucker is making a case too.
For one, this is the first time Alvarez has mastered Triple-A, while Tucker spent most of last season doing just that. Plus, Alvarez is limited defensively, while Tucker plays a more-than-competent outfield. And of course there are service time considerations, as Tucker has already been called up and is already on the 40-man roster.
What makes it difficult is there’s likely not room for both of them on the major league roster. Between George Springer, Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick, Tony Kemp, Myles Straw and Jake Marisnick, there aren’t many outfield at-bats to go around. Tyler White’s DH at-bats should be up for grabs, but it would take a major injury to an established outfielder to make room for both.
The Astros should rightfully have confidence in both young players, but which one gets the next call remains to be seen. They could very well be battling each other for that one coveted roster spot.
***Statistics courtesy of MiLB.com***