Former Houston Astros outfielder Preston Tucker is hitting well in Korea.
While we’re still waiting for American baseball to get up and running, there is professional baseball being played in the world. The Korean Baseball Organization has been playing for a few weeks, and former Houston Astros outfielder Preston Tucker is taking the league by storm.
Through 16 games, Tucker is hitting .393/.464/.754 with seven doubles, five homers and 20 RBIs. That RBI total leads the league, and his Kia Tigers have a winning record thus far. This is his second season playing in Korea, as he posted a .311/.381/.479 line with 33 doubles, nine homers and 55 RBIs in 95 games there in 2019.
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Tucker, of course, is the older brother of current Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker. The younger Tucker has been a top prospect since Houston drafted him in the first round in 2015, though the elder Tucker didn’t have that type of fanfare.
Preston Tucker was drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft and rose fairly quickly, reaching the majors in 2015. He played relatively well as a rookie, hitting .243/.297/.437 with 13 homers in 98 games. But he slumped to just a .164/.222/.328 line in 2016 before the team traded him to Atlanta after he spent all of 2017 at Triple-A.
He played for the Braves and Reds in 2018 and unsuccessfully attempted to catch on with the White Sox in 2019, as he hit .277/.344/.410 with their Triple-A affiliate. With the possible lack of a minor league season in 2020, Tucker’s play in Korea may be all he’s able to get this year.
But if he’s able to continue hitting well, that could unlock an invitation to Spring Training in 2021. He’s just about to turn 30, so he’s still young enough to have a chance at establishing a role for himself in the major leagues.
Perhaps the Astros could even look into it. With Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick and George Springer all set to hit free agency after this season, there could be a fourth outfielder role available. Having the Tucker brothers on the same team would be a nice thing to look forward to in 2021.