Fantasy Baseball: Astros prospect Kyle Tucker a call-up to get excited about
The Astros have finally called up top prospect Kyle Tucker, and Scott White says it's a move that'll stick.
And you've seen how that's gone.
If you've had any regrets about passing over them in the time since, you haven't missed your chance with Kyle Tucker. Though I've listed him among my top prospects to stash for weeks now, recently moving him up to the top spot Prospects Report, the younger brother of Preston Tucker is still available in more than half of CBS Sports leagues. That number should quickly drop to zero.
Because, guys, he's really good.
The full-season numbers at Triple-A Fresno pretty much tell the story there. In 80 games — or about half a major-league season — the 21-year-old has hit .306 with 14 homers, 14 steals and an .891 OPS. But it's over the past month that he really began pushing for a job, batting .382 with six homers, eight steals an a 1.084 OPS in 27 games.
Which isn't to say he's some fly-by-night. Baseball America rated him the No. 15 overall prospect coming into the year after rating him 19th last year. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft. He was the most buzzed-about prospect in spring training, apart from Ronald Acuna, batting .409 (18 for 44) with five homers and two steals, with caused some to wonder aloud if he should be on the big-league roster from the get-go. His arrival is the culmination of years of expectation, and so far, it has played out exactly the way it should. As prospects go, this one has been remarkably predictable.
And the timing couldn't be better for him. If the Astros, as loaded as they are, have a need, it's in left field, where they had hoped Marwin Gonzalez would continue his magic from a year ago. They've also tried Derek Fisher and Tony Kemp out there, but nobody who looks like a deserving regular for a first-division club. They aren't handing the job to him outright, but it sounds like he'll be able to earn it.
"We want him to play," Astros manager A.J. Hinch told MLB.com. "Obviously I'm going to mix him in and everybody on our team plays. There will be days that he plays, days that he's off."
Tucker should be a regular for them, and if he follows the trend of high-profile prospects paying immediate dividends, he should be for you as well, offering power, speed, a decent batting average — basically a true five-category threat. Worry about him slipping into a platoon as a left-handed batter? He has actually hit lefties better than righties the past two years, so it's not a long-term concern. He doesn't have quite the plate discipline of a Soto or the favorable eligibility of a Torres, but in five-outfielder leagues, he's a deserving starter right away. I suspect he'll prove to be one in three-outfielder leagues soon enough.
I'm willing to call Tucker a top-40 outfielder straight out of the minors, ranking him just ahead of Wil Myers, and that seems like a reasonable enough comp, looking at Myers' numbers the past two years. If either of them is going to exceed our expectations, though, it's probably Tucker.
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Scott White is an award-winning Fantasy baseball analyst
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