Monday, May 22, 2017

Why isn't Kyle Tucker in Corpus yet?

The average Carolina League hitter is 22.5 years old and is hitting .253/.328/.388. Kyle Tucker is 20 years old and is hitting .311/.401/.603. Why is he still in Buies Creek?

Tucker is a RF, and Corpus' RF - 24-year old Drew Ferguson (19th Round - 2015) is holding his own with a .313/.391/.433 slash line through 39 games (150 ABs). And the average Texas Leaguer is just a shade over 24 years old, so Tucker would be facing pitchers who were basically four years older than he is whereas Ferguson is right on the average age of a Texas League player.

In just his third professional season, and let's not forget that Tucker has only 928 PAs as a professional - 57 games at High-A between Lancaster and Buies Creek - there's not a need to force the issue. There's a domino effect at play here, too. Fresno has been playing Teoscar Hernandez and Preston Tucker at RF. Teoscar Hernandez is hitting .287/.364/.521. Preston Tucker, Kyle's older brother, is working back from a shoulder injury and is hitting .261/.291/.438. Luhnow isn't likely to send Ferguson and his .824 OPS to Buies Creek, where he would be two years older than his competition.

There are only two players in the Texas League still in their Age 20 season, with polar opposites in terms of results:
Michael DeLeon (who plays for the Ramgers affiliate in Frisco) is hitting .240/.282/.315.
Luis Urias (who plays for the Padres affiliate in San Antonio) is hitting .344/.429/.485 with 20K:25BB.

Perhaps there's a reason 20-year olds don't typically spend much time in the Texas League. Obviously if Tucker keeps the 1.000+ OPS up long-term, then he'll need to be challenged further, but there's not an obvious reason to bump him up yet.