Astros calling up top prospect Kyle Tucker next week

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 31: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros connects with the ball for a line out to left field against the Seattle Mariners in the at Safeco Field on July 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 31: Kyle Tucker #3 of the Houston Astros connects with the ball for a line out to left field against the Seattle Mariners in the at Safeco Field on July 31, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /
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The Astros will call up their top prospect next week.

At long last, the wait is nearly over. The Astros will call up top prospect Kyle Tucker next week, GM Jeff Luhnow told SportsTalk 790. He is expected to join the team in time for Monday’s game against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

It was a foregone conclusion that Tucker would join the Astros when rosters expand in September, but the timing is interesting nonetheless. Calling him up on Sept. 2 means he will not be with the Round Rock Express for the minor league playoffs. The Express currently have a three-game division lead and thus are in a position to advance to the postseason.

It’s also interesting in that the Astros won’t have a DH in Milwaukee for those two games, so at-bats will be harder to come by. But the team will return home after the Milwaukee series to start an eight-game homestand, so Tucker should see some playing time in that stretch.

The news also coincides with Josh Reddick‘s apparent resurgence. After seeing his on-base percentage dip below .300, Reddick has posted five hits in his last two games, including two doubles and a triple. His OPS jumped 21 points thanks to those two games. If he keeps this up, it will be harder for A.J. Hinch to play Tucker over Reddick down the stretch.

Let the Battle Begin

Still, September will be an important month for both Tucker and Reddick. Whatever playing time Tucker gets will essentially be an audition for next season, as there’s the possibility the Astros open up a spot for him by moving on from Reddick.

There’s also an outside chance Tucker plays his way into a spot on the postseason roster. If he impresses and Reddick’s struggles continue, the Astros could decide to go with the hot hand in October, playing Tucker and Jake Marisnick as two parts of a platoon.

It’s well known that Tucker struggled mightily in his 2018 major league debut, slashing just .141/.236/.203 with zero homers in 28 games. But he’s still just 22 years old and has posted a 30-30 season at Triple-A this year. His combination of power and baserunning ability is tough to match.

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Many players (such as Alex Bregman) struggle in their initial exposure to the majors before finding their footing, so Tucker is certainly capable of adding even more thump to the lineup. It looks like the Astros will find out just how much as they navigate the final month of the regular season.