Kyle Tucker
Tucker with the Houston Astros in 2019
Houston Astros – No. 30
Right fielder
Born: (1997-01-17) January 17, 1997 (age 27)
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
MLB debut
July 7, 2018, for the Houston Astros
MLB statistics
(through 2023 season)
Batting average.272
Home runs102
Runs batted in368
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Medals
Men's baseball
Representing  United States
World Baseball Classic
Silver medal – second place 2023 Miami Team

Kyle Daniel Tucker (born January 17, 1997), nicknamed "King Tuck", is an American professional baseball right fielder for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Astros selected Tucker with the fifth pick in the first round of the 2015 MLB draft, and he made his MLB debut in 2018. Prior to the 2023 MLB regular season he was one of few players to not use batting gloves while hitting [1]

A native of Tampa, Florida, Tucker won Florida's Gatorade Player of the Year Award while attending and playing for Henry B. Plant High School. In 2021, he was selected for the All-MLB Team for the first time. The following year, he won each of his first World Series championship, MLB All-Star selection and Gold Glove Award. He played in the 2023 World Baseball Classic and was named an All-Star in the 2023 season.

High school career

Tucker attended Henry B. Plant High School in Tampa, Florida, and played for their baseball team.[2] He appeared in Perfect Game's All American Classic.[3] Tucker was named Florida's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2015.[4][5]

Projected to be a first round pick in the 2015 MLB draft,[6] the Houston Astros selected Tucker fifth overall.[7] He officially signed on June 15.[8]

Professional career

Minor leagues

Tucker played for the Greeneville Astros of the Rookie-level Appalachian League.[9] He began the 2016 season with the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Class A Midwest League,[10] and received a midseason promotion to the Lancaster JetHawks of the Class A-Advanced California League.[11] Tucker hit .285/.360/.438 with 32 stolen bases, nine home runs, and 69 runs batted in (RBIs) in 2016.[12]

Tucker began the 2017 season with the Buies Creek Astros of the Class A-Advanced Carolina League, and was promoted to the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Class AA Texas League in May.[13] He appeared in the 2017 All-Star Futures Game.[14] He finished the season batting a combined .274/.346/.528 with 25 home runs and 90 RBIs between Buies Creek and Corpus Christi. After the season, the Astros assigned Tucker to the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League.[15][16]

Tucker began the 2018 season with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.[17] After he batted .306 in 80 games, the Astros promoted him to the major leagues on July 7.[18]

Houston Astros

Early major league career (2018–20)

Tucker made his major league debut on July 7, 2018,[19] versus the Chicago White Sox. He collected his first major league hit and RBI that day.[20] He batted .141/.236/.203 in 72 plate appearances for the Astros in 2018.[21]

Tucker spent the 2019 minor league season with the Round Rock Express, hitting .266/.350/.555/.905 with 34 home runs, 97 RBIs, and 30 stolen bases.[22] Tucker was promoted to the Astros on September 2, 2019.[23] In 2019 with the Astros, he batted .269/.319/.537 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in 67 at bats, while stealing five bases without being caught.[24]

In 2020, playing in 58 of the abbreviated sixty game season, Tucker batted .268/.325/.512 with six triples (leading the American League), nine home runs, and 42 RBIs in 209 at bats, and stole eight bases while being caught just once. He also placed sixth in the league in RBI, sixth in extra-base hits (27), and seventh in stolen bases.[24] He played in 13 playoff games, batting .306/.327/.367 before a season-ending loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).[25]

All-MLB Second Team (2021)

Tucker authored a breakout season in 2021: from May 1 through the end of the season, he batted .320 and led the AL in on-base percentage, slugging and OPS.[26] By hitting his 30th home run on October 3, Tucker became the third Astro to have hit 30 home runs hit in one season before turning age 25.[27] In September and October, he batted .346 with eight home runs, 20 runs scored, 19 RBIs, a .438 on-base percentage, and a .692 slugging percentage for a 1.130 OPS. He was awarded the AL Player of the Month for September, his first career monthly award.[28]

In his first full, unshortened, major league season, Tucker reached career-highs in nearly every offensive category, batting .294/.359./.557/.917, with 37 doubles, 30 home runs, 92 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, 282 total bases, and 147 OPS+ in 140 games played. He ranked ninth in the AL in batting, third in slugging percentage and OPS, fifth in doubles and OPS+, and tenth in Wins Above Replacement (5.7 WAR, per Baseball-Reference).[24] He was named as a Gold Glove finalist in right field with +11 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), tied with Joey Gallo and Aaron Judge for second place behind Adolis García.[29] Tucker was announced as a finalist for the Silver Slugger Award for outfielders on October 25, 2021;[30] the three outfielder winners were Teoscar Hernández, Judge and Cedric Mullins[31] Tucker received his first selection as a Sporting News AL All-Star at outfield,[32] and to the All-MLB Second Team.[33]

In Game 4 of the 2021 American League Division Series (ALDS) against the Chicago White Sox on October 12, Tucker stole second and third base in the fourth inning to become the first Astro to steal two bases in the same inning of a postseason game.[34] He slashed .279/.333/.541 in 61 postseason at bats, stole five bases, hit four home runs, and led both leagues in postseason runs batted in (RBI) with fifteen.[35]

2022

In 2022, Tucker batted .257/.330/.478 with a 128 OPS+ and a 5.3 baseball-reference WAR in 544 at bats.[36] He swung at a higher percentage of pitches in the strike zone (84.0%) than any other major league batter.[37] He played 147 games in right field, and three at DH.[36] He received nomination for the AL Silver Slugger Award in right field/[38] and was an All-star. He finished 15th in the AL MVP-voting.

Through his 13 defensive runs saved, Tucker was awarded the AL 2022 Gold Glove Award for his play in right field. He was also second in the league at his position in assists (8)..[39]

An early-season slump for Tucker in 2022 included a 4-for-46 span to start the season.[40] On April 27, his three-run double in the fifth inning versus the Texas Rangers scored the decisive runs for a 4–3 Astros win; he collected seven RBI in the first three games of that series.[41] Pinch hitting in the eighth inning of the next game, his home run again provided the margin of victory for the Astros, 3–2, after Rangers starter Martín Pérez had taken a perfect game into the seventh inning.[42]

At Fenway Park on May 17, Tucker tied his career high of six RBI, including hitting one of five home runs in the second inning versus Nathan Eovaldi of the Boston Red Sox, tying the major league record for a team in one inning.[43] In the fourth inning, he added a grand slam.[44] While playing the Chicago White Sox on June 17, 2022, Tucker extended a career-high hitting streak to 15 games.[45]

Tucker was named a reserve outfielder to the MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, his first career selection. He was batting .259 with, 16 home runs, fourth in the AL in RBI (58) and tied for fifth in steals (14). He garnered 10 Defensive Runs Saved, per Fangraphs, tied with Brett Phillips for the lead among AL outfielders.[46] During the season, he became the seventh player in MLB history to steal 40 bases and hit 60 home runs in his first 350 games, doing so in his 329th game in the majors.[47]

Tucker's second grand slam of the season on August 12 catalyzed a 7–5 Astros win versus the Oakland Athletics.[48] On August 18, he tied a career high with four hits versus the White Sox in a 21–5 win that included 25 hits, tied for both the second-highest scoring output and most hits in team history.[49] A double in the third inning versus the Minnesota Twins on August 24 extended a hitting streak to a new career-high 16 games for Tucker.[50] The hitting streak extended to 17 games and ended on August 27.[51] Tucker reached 20 stolen base on September 3, giving him his first 20/20 (20-home run, 20-stolen base) campaign.[52] On September 20, Tucker, facing his hometown Rays, drove in his 100th run of the season to become the 18th player in club history to accomplish the feat, and first full-time Astros outfielder since Carlos Lee in 2009.[53] The following day, Tucker hit the go-ahead home run the eighth inning that resulted in a 5–2 win, finishing off a series sweep at Tropicana Field, the first ever for Houston in Tampa Bay.[54] He hit his 30th home run of the season on October 4 versus the Philadelphia Phillies, joining Jeff Bagwell as the only players in Astros history to have reached 30 home runs, 100 RBI, and 25 stolen bases in the same season.[55]

In Game 1 of the 2022 World Series, Tucker hit consecutive home runs versus Aaron Nola, becoming the first Astros player with multiple home runs in a World Series game.[56] Although they would lose that game 6-5, the Astros defeated the Phillies in six games to give Tucker his first World Series title, with Tucker catching a fly ball hit by Nick Castellanos to record the final out.[57] In the World Series Tucker hit .190/:280/.524 with an .804 OPS in 21 AB.

2023

In the second inning versus Texas on July 3, 2023, Tucker hit a grand slam that proved crucial in a 12–11 Astros victory.[58] He made a second consecutive AL MLB All-Star team in as a reserve outfielder.[59] On July 21, Tucker launched three home runs at the Oakland Coliseum for his first career three-home run game, and was just the third visiting player to do so since 1968. He drove in four runs to lead a 6–4 win over the A's.[60] This year has been his best year of his career so far, as he has posted a .304/.386/.518 slashline with a career high 148 OPS+.

On August 1, Tucker singled home both runs in a no-hitter pitched by Framber Valdez, a 2–0 win over the Cleveland Guardians.[61] On August 8, Tucker launched a grand slam at Oriole Park to flip the Astros' deficit from 3–6 to a 7–6 lead against the Orioles, helping the Astros win the game in a comeback.[62] With this grand slam hit, it is Tucker's 20th home run of the season.[63] He became the first player in Astros history to have two triples in one inning during an eight-run sixth in a 12–2 win over the San Diego Padres on September 10.[64] On September 13, 2023, Tucker hit his 100th career home run, extending the Astros' lead to 6–0 against the Oakland Athletics.[65] With this career home run hit, Tucker became the 20th player in Astros history to do so.[66]

For the 2023 season, Tucker played in a career-high 157 games batting .284/.369.517/.886 over 674 plate appearances. He set other new career-highs while ranking in the top 10 in the league with 97 scored (7th), 163 hits (8th), 37 doubles (6th–tying his career high), 112 RBI (also leading the AL), 30 stolen bases (7th), 80 bases on balls (7th), 297 total bases (5th), and 10 sacrifice flies (SF, 2nd). He also hit 29 home runs and five triples. Among AL right fielders, he led his position in games played (153) and putouts (303) and was fourth in assists with eight.[24] Tucker joined Bagwell (1994) and Lance Berkman (2002) as the third Astro to lead the league in RBI, and the first since Houston moved to the AL.[67] Tucker was voted by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) as the Astros' Most Valuable Player (MVP).[68] He won his first career Silver Slugger Award,[67] and was voted to The Sporting News AL All-Star Team for the second time in his career.[69]

International career

On August 27, 2022, Tucker committed to play for the United States in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).[70] During the quarterfinal game versus Venezuela, Tucker homered off Astros teammate Luis García on the way to a 9–7 win for Team USA.[71]

Personal life

Tucker's older brother, Preston, is also a professional baseball outfielder who played for the Astros in 2015 and 2016.[72]

On December 23, 2022, Tucker announced via Instagram his engagement to girlfriend Samantha Scott. They both graduated Plant High School in 2015 and began dating in 2017 while Tucker was playing in the Astros' minor league system and Scott was attending Florida State University. Scott's younger brother, Connor, is also an outfielder who was a first-round draft selection of the Miami Marlins in 2018.[73]

Awards

Awards won by Kyle Tucker
Award Category Result /
Section
Year Ref.
All-Star Futures Game selectee 2017 [24]
Baseball America High School Player of the Year 2015 [74]
Houston Astros Most Valuable Player (MVP) 2023 [68]
Sporting News American League All-Star Outfield 2021, 2023 [32][69]

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Plant High baseball phenoms will draw scouts". TBO.com. February 9, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  3. ^ "Florida high school sports - Tucker and Chatfield to play in Perfect Game All-American Classic". tampabay.com. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "Florida high school sports - Plant's Kyle Tucker named Gatorade Player of the Year for Florida". tampabay.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  5. ^ "Florida Baseball POY: Kyle Tucker". USA Today High School Sports. May 28, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  6. ^ "The Sports Update: Kyle Tucker 'excited about draft'". Ultimate Astros. May 16, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "Astros take OF Kyle Tucker with fifth pick of first round". Ultimate Astros. June 8, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  8. ^ Jose de Jesus Ortiz on (June 15, 2015). "Astros sign draftee Kyle Tucker". Blog.chron.com. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
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  15. ^ Goodman, Kyra (January 20, 2016). "Astros' Kyle Tucker triples in Fall League win". MLB.com. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
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  17. ^ "Tucker continues hot start for Grizzlies". MiLB.com. April 6, 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
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  37. ^ "Major League Leaderboards » 2022 » Batters » Plate Discipline Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". fangraphs.com.
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  39. ^ McTaggart, Brian (November 1, 2022). "Tucker, Peña named first-time Gold Glove winners". MLB.com. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
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  48. ^ "Tucker's slam highlights 6-run fifth inning, Astros beat A's". ESPN.com. Associated Press. August 12, 2022. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  49. ^ "Bregman 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 6 RBIs, Astros trample Chisox 21–5". ESPN.com. Associated Press. August 18, 2022. Retrieved August 18, 2022.
  50. ^ "Altuve, Mancini HR; Valdez, Astros hand Twins 5th straight L". ESPN.com. Associated Press. August 24, 2022. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
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  55. ^ "Verlander, bullpen keep Phils hitless until 9th in 10–0 win". ESPN.com. October 4, 2022. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
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  57. ^ Rome, Chandler (November 5, 2022). "Undisputed: 'It proves we're the best team in baseball ... They have nothing to say now.'". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
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  60. ^ Kawahara, Matt (July 21, 2023). "Astros 6, A's 4: Kyle Tucker launches 3 home runs in win". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  61. ^ "Astros' Framber Valdez blanks Guardians for MLB's 3rd no-hitter". ESPN.com. Associated Press. August 1, 2023. Retrieved August 1, 2023.
  62. ^ MLB [@MLB] (August 9, 2023). "A GO-AHEAD GRAND SLAM FOR KYLE TUCKER IN THE 9TH!" (Tweet). Retrieved August 8, 2023 – via Twitter.
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  64. ^ McTaggart, Brian. "Astros rout Padres to tee up final run at AL West title," MLB.com, Sunday, September 10, 2023. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
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  66. ^ MLB [@MLB] (February 23, 2016). "Kyle Tucker is the 20th player in @Astros history to reach the 100 home run mark" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  67. ^ a b Schaeffer, Steve (November 9, 2023). "Astros' Kyle Tucker wins first Silver Slugger award". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 10, 2023.
  68. ^ a b Press Release (October 6, 2023). "Houston BBWAA announces 2023 award winners". MLB.com. Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  69. ^ a b Fagan, Ryan (October 26, 2023). "The Sporting News 2023 MLB Award Winners and All-Stars". The Sporting News. Retrieved November 10, 2023.
  70. ^ Van Doren, Kenny (August 27, 2022). "Houston Astros' Tucker Commits to Team USA for World Baseball Classic". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  71. ^ Shapiro, Michael (March 19, 2023). "Watch: Kyle Tucker homers off Astros teammate in WBC". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  72. ^ "ALL-USA Watch: Plant's Kyle Tucker following his brother's career arc". USA Today High School Sports. May 15, 2015. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  73. ^ Young, Matt (December 23, 2022). "Astros star Kyle Tucker gets engaged to longtime girlfriend Samantha Scott". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 24, 2022.
  74. ^ "Kyle Tucker awards". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 25, 2021.
Awards and achievements Preceded byJosé Abreu American League Player of the Month September 2021 Succeeded byJosé Ramírez