Astros: When does Kyle Tucker enter the MVP conversation?

Houston Astros, Kyle Tucker (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Astros, Kyle Tucker (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros didn’t have any MVP candidates a few weeks ago, but out of nowhere, Kyle Tucker has to be getting himself into the conversation.

In a short season, it’s hard to predict what might or might not happen. We haven’t seen anything like this before, so a positive streak could feasibly land someone some serious accolades, and that’s where Kyle Tucker currently finds himself as the sole representative of the Houston Astros lineup who is excelling individually.

After starting the season with fans questioning if he would ever be good enough, Tucker has since caught fire, learned how to crush offspeed pitches, and now ranks among the top of the Majors in nearly every major offensive category.

So when it comes to the American League MVP, it would be incredibly unfair not to include the versatile left-hander in the conversation.

The Houston Astros have a new MVP candidate, and it’s Kyle Tucker

Consider the numbers. In terms of RBIs, which will always be one of the most defining stats for MVP, he’s tied for third in all of baseball. Of everyone in baseball who has more RBIs than him, only Fernando Tatis Jr. has more stolen bases, and no one does in the American League.

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Speed. Production. And don’t forget that he leads the majors in triples with twice as many as the guy in second place.

Let’s talk situational. With runners on base, no one has more RBIs than Kyle Tucker. He’s got a massive .830 slugging with runners on, second place is nearly .100 points behind at .733, and he’s tops in OPS as well, ahead of Bryce Harper in second place.

He also has the second-lowest strikeout rate—behind just Freddie Freeman—among everyone else in the top 15 OPS list with runners on base.

Unsurprisingly, that means that Tucker also tops the list for crucial sabermetrics like wRC+, or weighted runs created plus.

Given Tucker’s slow start to the season, he’s still making up ground in general batting categories, but with runners on base, you literally can’t do any better than him. And without any signs of slowing down, that means that he has to enter into the MVP conversation alongside the likes of Mike Trout, Jose Abreu, and Nelson Cruz.

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This is no longer a “lately” kind of thing for Tucker. He isn’t just flashing what he can do. It’s been going on long enough that it’s safe to say he’s landed safely in the MVP talks for the foreseeable future.