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The Emergence of Kyle Tucker

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The Houston Astros are on the brink of returning to the American League Championship Series for the fifth consecutive year led by an unsung hero of sorts in Kyle Tucker. A lineup that is already pretty potent, and with the rise of Tucker, makes this lineup one of the best, if not the best, in all of Major League Baseball.

The Rise of King Tuck

Given the nickname “King Tuck,” Tucker has burst on the scene this season. Drafted as the number five overall pick in the 2015 draft, Tucker quickly worked his way through the Astros farm system. In July of 2018, Tucker was called up to the big leagues for a short time. In 2019, Tucker was called up in September and had not looked back since.

With the shortened 2020 season, this is the first entire season that Astros fans have been able to watch Tucker, and he has been nothing short of spectacular. During the regular season, Tucker had a slash line of .294/.359/.518/.856 in 140 games this season. Not to mention his 30 home runs and 92 RBIs. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Tucker led the team this season with 14-stolen bases.

In a recent press conference, Carlos Correa talked about the importance of having Tucker in the lineup, saying, “I think Kyle Tucker was the best hitters in our lineup this year. He is one of the best hitters in the game”. That is big for Correa to say about Tucker. He has a unique swing. Tucker does not seem like a power hitter that fits into this lineup of power hitters, but he can go out there and be productive.

What Tucker has been able to do at the plate this season has been exciting to watch, but his defense also has fans buzzing. In-Game Two of the ALDS, the Astros were tied with the White Sox in the top of the seventh. White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal hit a fly to right field, and Tucker looked like he missed played the ball but managed to leap and make the catch. If Tucker had not made that catch, that play would have gone for extra bases, and the White Sox would have taken the lead.

Final Thoughts

Since the Astros drafted Tucker, teams have inquired into a possible trade for Tucker, but the Astros never considered trading Tucker, and rightfully so. What Tucker has been able to do this season is just the tip of the iceberg. What Astros fans are seeing right before their eyes is a modern-day Ted Williams. With his unique left-handed swing resembling the great Williams and his no batting gloves, Tucker is a special player that Astros fans will enjoy watching for the years to come.

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main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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Jeff "Rip" Griffin is a current MLB writer covering the Houston Astros. Rip is also the host of The Rip Griffin Show on Apple Podcasts. Rip holds a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, focusing in Sports Management from the University of Houston - Victoria.