Kyle is the younger brother of former Astros OF Preston Tucker.
In 2015, Tucker graduated from Plant High School in Tampa with a commitment to the University of Florida. His brother, Preston, was a Gator.
Entering Kyle's last game as a senior at Plant High, he had pulled even with his brother, both having 29 career homers. But, on that night, in front of a crowd that included a throng of scouts and a few general managers, Tucker rose to the occasion. He collected four hits and belted two home runs in a 13-2 victory. The homers gave Tucker 31 for his career, pushing him past his brother and into Plant’s record book.
In 2015, Tucker was Baseball America's High School Player of the Year. And he also was named Florida's Gatorade Player of the Year.
While Tucker has true five-tool potential, his physical tools are just one part of his overall package. He also earns praise for his makeup and successfully balanced Advanced Placement classes with baseball to post a 5.33 weighted GPA.
Kyle plays the game with an old-school mentality.
But some scouts don't like his even-keeled approach, describing him as a low-energy guy.
June 2015: Tucker was the Astros first round pick (#5 overall), out of Plant High School in Tampa, Florida. And he signed for a bonus of $4 million, via scout John Martin.
In 2016, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Kyle as the 4th-best prospect in the Astros' organization. He was at #2, behind only RHP Francis Martes, in the offseason before 2017 spring training. He was at #2 again both in the spring of 2018 and again in 2019, behind only Forrest Whitley both years.
While Tucker might fill out somewhat, most observers expect he’ll remain lean and retain wiry strength, and he earned comparisons with Christian Yelich. He projects as an above-average hitter with above-average power, with an expected ceiling of 20-25 homers.
In 2017, Tucker represented the Astros in the All-Star Futures game.
September 2017: Tucker was named the Astros' Minor League Player of the Year.
2017: Tucker was invited to play in the AFL Fall Stars Game.
March 2, 2018: One of the most notable stories in the first couple of weeks of Astros camp has been 21-year-old Kyle Tucker, the sweet-swinging, lefthanded-hitting outfielder. While fans' expectations have been raised to the point they're wondering if Tucker will make the club out of camp, his teammates have even been showing Tucker some love by taking down his nameplate and writing "Ted" above his locker—an homage to Hall of Famer Ted Williams. Let's pump the brakes.
Nicknamed “Ted” for his resemblance to a young Ted Williams, Tucker even took swings as Williams for a PBS documentary on the Splendid Splinter.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch, when asked about Tucker's chances to make the team, gushed with praise about baseball's No. 16 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, but said Tucker won't be breaking camp with the big league club.
"He's a good-looking young player who is doing a great job of making a great first impression," Hinch said. "He's got some things to learn, he's got some things to work on. He's a great talent, and I think that's where it starts and ends. I think his contribution to the Major League level will come at some point if he continues to progress, but it's not going to come at the end of the month no matter what he does. We feel it's just not in the best interest for him.
"Now, he can make it more interesting. That timeline always moves depending on your readiness, but that's not defined by the first two weeks of spring. I'm proud of him, I'm happy he's doing what he's doing. The Kyle Tucker show will join the big leagues at some point if he continues to do what he's doing, but he's not currently in competition to make the team."
Tucker said he has been working on pitch selection this spring, which is the next step in his development. Hinch said pitch recognition, attacking early in counts and defending himself with two strikes are some things Tucker needs to improve upon.
"Like with a lot of hitters . . . we've seen this happen with [Carlos] Correa and [Alex] Bregman and George [Springer] . . . when they get closer to the big leagues, there's a lot of fine-tuning that goes on and a lot of that circles around tougher game plans that start to come about when the regular season starts," Hinch said. "When you start facing competition in-season, those are things he'll finish off in the big leagues at some point. I'm certainly happy with what he's doing."
Tucker was one of just 10 players in all of the Minor Leagues to record at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 2017. He's likely going to start 2018 back at Corpus Christi, which means he could be an option for Houston at some point this season. The Astros, of course, could stand to benefit financially down the road by pushing back Tucker's service time clock well into the season, but his development is front and center in spring decisions.
"Whether he starts at Double-A or Triple-A will be determined by the organization, but he's got a chance to do a lot of things in the game," Hinch said. "If the timeline is sooner rather than later, then we'll address it. It's not right now." (B McTaggart - MLB.com - March 2, 2018)
July 7, 2018: Kyle Tucker, the next in line from among the Astros' stream of can't-miss prospects, shook off three strikeouts to begin his Major League career by coming through with a single and a bases-loaded walk in the Astros' 12-6 win over the White Sox. "It was awesome," Tucker said. "I had a lot of fun tonight and we came up with the win, so that makes it even better. Just being in the big leagues is awesome, especially this team."
The Astros called up Tucker, the No. 8 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, with the intent of making him their starting left fielder. He received a huge ovation each time he stepped to the plate in his debut at Minute Maid Park, but White Sox starter James Shields struck him out three times in a row.
Tucker lined a single to right in the seventh off reliever Bruce Rondon for his first hit and drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth for his first Major League RBI. "It was kind of a relief to put a ball forward after the first three strikeouts," Tucker said with a smile. "You're going to strike out at times. You're going to have some bad ABs, and bad games, and you have to grind through it and move on to the next AB."
Tucker was hitting .306/.371/.520 with 14 homers and 66 RBIs in 80 games at Triple-A Fresno. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Tucker will play the corner outfield spots, but mostly left field, where the Astros have started five different players.
"There's only one first day and we've seen a lot of really good ones come up the last couple of years, at least while I've been here," Hinch said. "It's special. It takes you back to your first days. Certainly, it's an exciting day for Kyle and his family. Our team got better by adding him to the mix. We'll give him the next test in the big leagues and see where it takes him."
Tucker, 21, has a smooth lefthanded swing and continues to develop power. He figures to quickly become a part of the Astros' young core of position-player stars, including Jose Altuve, George Springer, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman. Tucker was drafted fifth overall in the 2015 draft, three picks after Bregman went second overall. They were both drafted by the Astros on the day Correa made his Major League debut. (B McTaggart - MLB.com - July 7, 2018)
2019 season: With his career-best 34 homers and 30 steals in 125 games at Triple-A Round Rock, Tucker became the first Minor Leaguer to record three consecutive 20-20 seasons since Greg Vaughn (1987-1989). The 22-year-old outfielder had five multi-homer games and hit 11 of his homers during 28 games in May.
2020 Season: Tucker hit .268/.325/.512 with 12 doubles, 6 triples, 9 homers, 42 RBIs and 8 stolen bases in his first stint of everyday play. With that consistent spot in the lineup, Tucker got more comfortable with big league pitching and his production increased at a rapid rate.
In the last 36 games of the regular season, Tucker was scorching hot, hitting .317 with an OPS of 1.005 while batting 6th or 7th in the lineup. (Matthew Kunkel - Dec. 24, 2020)
2021 Regular Season:
Tucker was tasked with the very heavy role of replacing the offensive production that George Springer took with him North of the Border. Frankly, Tucker started out a little slow at the dish.
If you took out that performance prior to the start of May, Tucker led the American League with a .325 batting average, .391 on-base percentage and .609 slugging percentage.
Tucker wasn’t only getting the job done at the plate. He finished the season in the top-three for a Gold Glove in right field, while many fans considered Joey Gallo’s Gold Glove win over Tucker as highway robbery.
Gallo played a very solid outfield, but played little of that in right field after a trade that sent him from Arlington to the Bronx. Regardless, Tucker was extremely reliable in the field. He was tied for the American League lead with 11 defense runs saved. With going head-to-head with National League teams (and with the Atlanta Braves in the World Series), Tucker proved that he could even patrol center field when needed.
In the postseason, the Astros’ offensive performance, as a unit, was perplexing. One night they looked like they could score 100 runs. The next night, the right person could have been convinced that they were watching a team of rookies who never played an inning in the postseason. Tucker proved to be the mainstay through all the ups and downs.
Tucker slashed .279/.333/.541 through 61 postseason at-bats. He lead players from both leagues with 15 postseason RBI. Throughout each series, he proved timely and effective in each facet of the game. He smacked four home runs, swiped five bases and put it all on the line of the defensive side of the ball in center field. (Christian Jaz Espinoza - Nov. 14, 2021)
Three days before the 2021 World Series, Kyle lost his grandfather, Dwayne, who was his biggest fan. Dwayne lived in South Florida, watching every single game his grandson played in.
Dwayne purchased whatever television subcription he needed, while some nights watching Kyle play until 3:00 a.m. in the east, depending on where games were being played. Kyle is a month into fundraising for the Kyle Tucker Foundation, which raises money for those in hospice care.
Tucker’s grandfather passed away a few days before the start of the 2021 World Series, the biggest stage the 24-year-old had been on so far in his career. He didn’t tell many of his teammates, as he looked to keep it in the back of his mind and help the team.
“We were really close,” Tucker said regarding his grandfather. “He was a big part of my life.” The final months of Dwayne’s life were in hospice care, which left a life changing impact on the Tucker family.
“The people in (hospice) are so caring,” Tucker said. “They are really trying to help out the patient and the family in however way they can.” The Tucker family has already begun fundraising with events in the Tampa, Florida area, as their goal is to raise awareness and support families that need financial assistance in a challenging time.
“You really shouldn’t be worried about the financial aspect of it at that time in a person’s life or a family’s life,” Tucker said. “It is something that is personal for me and the rest of my family that we are happy to start.” (Kenny Van Doren - Feb. 24, 2022)
July 2022: Tucker was selected to the MLB All-Star Game.
Aug 27, 2022: - Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker, a first-time All-Star this year, has committed to play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic for Team USA. Tucker said representing his country is a huge honor.
“It should be a lot of fun,” he said. “I don’t think they have the full roster done yet. So far, we have a lot of really good players and are looking pretty good right now. It should be a lot of fun.” (B McTaggart - MLB.com - Aug 27, 2022)
Sept. 2022: Tucker chose to play for team USA in the 2023 WBC.
June 2015: Tucker was the Astros first round pick (#5 overall), out of Plant High School in Tampa, Florida. And he signed for a bonus of $4 million, via scout John Martin.
- 2022: Tucker signed a one-year, $764,200 contract with the Astros.
|Birth City:||Tampa, FL|
|Draft:||Astros #1 - 2015 - Out of high school (FL)|
Tucker has an impressive, polished lefthanded bat. His athletic build produces power. And he is already able to pull the ball for home runs.
Kyle garners a 60 grade for his hitting tool, and a 60 for his power—both better than big league-average.
His contact skills are excellent and his pitch recognition has improved as he focused on swinging only at pitches he can drive. Evaluators see a lefthanded hitter who sweeps the bat through the zone as well as an occasional backside collapse, but his tremendous hand-eye coordination makes it work. (Spring, 2019)
Tucker has a workmanlike approach and a refined plate discipline.
“The biggest thing for him is he’s able to make contact in a lot of different parts of the zone,” Astros farm director Pete Putila said in July, 2018. “For him, it’s really just shrinking the strike zone and swinging at pitches he needs to drive so that it’s not just an empty batting average, and he has some power to go along with it.” (Chandler Rome - Baseball America - 8/03/2018)
Even though he is long-armed and lean, Tucker actually prefers hitting balls on the inner half, which helps explain why he has handled lefthanders well. He can pull his hands in on the inside pitch, and his hands and wrists work well to make his pull-oriented approach work. His swing generates excellent loft. But that projected power won’t arrive until Tucker adds some more good weight to add strength in his trunk and legs. (Spring 2017 - J.J. Cooper - BA)
Kyle has a loose lefthanded swing and the ball jumps of his bat to all fields. It is not a picture-perfect stroke. He begins it with the bat laid back over his shoulder. He stands very tall and upright in the box, keeping his hands set low before slightly barring his lead arm to load. But he makes lots of contact because he uses his hands so well and keeps the barrel through the hitting zone for a long time.
He has a long, loose and level uphill stroke, with lots of loose extension out front. His stroke is a bit unorthodox, but consistently makes hard contact thanks to his feel for the strike zone and advanced approach.
His power is best to the pull side now, but he projects to be able to drive the ball out to all fields as he physically matures. He could end up with some special power . . . maybe.
Tucker tends to pull off his front side early. And he has happy feet at times and popping the ball in the air. (Spring, 2015)
After an offseason before 2017 spring training, when this Tampa prep product added about 15-20 pounds to his lanky 6-foot-4 frame, Tucker began tapping into the power potential the Astros believed was present when they drafted him fifth overall in 2015.
In addition to getting stronger, Tucker worked to stop top-spinning the ball. His swing now stays long through the hitting zone, and this season he had been able to back-spin more balls.
Tucker’s swing is unconventional and gets long in the back at times, but his excellent hand-eye coordination and timing allowed him to consistently barrel the ball to all fields. He shows strong strike-zone discipline, remained poised in unfavorable counts and generates easy power with a smooth swing.
2018 Season: Kyle delivered his second straight 20-20 season with 24 home runs and 20 stolen bases, finished third in the minors with a .989 OPS and earned his first big league callup in July. Tucker impressed on the other side of the ball as well, notching 10 outfield assists while seeing time at all three outfield spots.
Tucker went on a late-season surge at Triple-A Fresno as he tallied 10 homers and six steals over his final 22 contests. The 21-year-old produced similar totals in 2017, when he hit 25 home runs and swiped 21 bags across two levels. The 20-homer, 20-steal plateau serves as a key benchmark reached by only a select number of players each year.
2019 Season: Tucker, ranked as the Astros’ top position-player prospect, should push for playing time in right field in 2020 after slashing .269/.319/.537 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 22 games with the Astros and landing on the playoff roster.
First 22 games: .193/.227/.349
Last 36 games: .317/.386/.619
Like most of the Astros' offense, Tucker scuffled early in 2020. Once mid August hit, Tucker emerged from his slumber and was quietly one of MLB’s most dangerous hitters through the end of the season. Tucker found his power—without sacrificing average—and hit seven doubles, five triples and seven home runs in his final 36 games. His .619 slugging percentage and 1.005 OPS both ranked 12th in MLB in that span.
June 23, 2021: One by one, Kyle fouled off a series of pitches by Rangers starter Kolby Allard, pushing through the physical demands of repeated violent swings before getting a pitch he knew he could handle. Tucker capped a five-run third inning by slugging a three-run homer—which came at the end of a nine-pitch at-bat.
The surging Tucker extended his career high with his 18th homer, giving him homers in three consecutive games. Tucker has feasted at Minute Maid Park this year, leading the club in batting average (.325), slugging percentage (.645) and OPS (1.022) at home. (McTaggart - mlb.com)
- As of the start of the 2022 season, Kyle's career Major League stats were: .274 batting average, 43 home runs and 232 hits with 149 RBI in 846 at-bats.
Kyle has a well-rounded skill set. The game comes easily to him, due to solid instincts. He covers ground well enough to play center field. His athleticism is more graceful and balanced than it is explosive.
His strong arm plays well in right field. He has a loose, whippy arm action. His throws have good carry and are on-line. His arm grades 55.
Tucker takes good routes to the ball. He reads the ball off the bat impressively and can be an above-average outfielder, especially at either corner. And he is plenty athletic enough for center. But ending up as an above-average right fielder seems the more likely outcome thanks to average range and a strong, accurate arm. (Spring, 2018)
"I'm fine with playing anywhere in the outfield," Tucker said midway through the 2016 season. "Before pro ball, I mainly played center. That's where I played in high school. Last year, I played mainly right field. This year, they've divided it up more. Each outfielder plays each position to gain more experience at each position. I've been playing more center this year, and I'm more comfortable with that."
Tucker said he is open to the versatility that the Astros are looking for and understands that it's an important part of development that has to occur in the early stages of pro ball, despite the challenges.
"As you get older, you tend to stay in one position, for the most part," Tucker said. "It can be a little tough to play four or five games in left, and then you have to go play right for a few games, and then go play center. You don't get those looks that are consistent. But that's why it's important to get your work in, so nothing surprises you during a game. That's just the way [the Astros] want it, so each outfielder is comfortable in each position."
Quad Cities manager Omar Lopez said Tucker is a plus-player in all three positions in the outfield, but that he excels in center field in particular.
"Kyle has so much ability, he can play all three positions in the outfield very well," Lopez said. "He has the perfect package, the perfect tools to be in center field. The routes are an area he's really been progressing in.
"In the beginning, he struggled with routes and jumps and reading the ball off the bat," Lopez continued. "He's put in a lot of work in practice to improve in that area. He's playing more games in center field, so he's gaining experience, and that will help him a lot. He's working hard to become the complete package in the outfield. He has the arm, the speed, the legs, and obviously for his age that you don't see very often, is his accuracy when he throws to the bases."
"Right field, the ball is going to tail a little more to the right-field line, left field, to the left-field line, and center is a little more straight up," Tucker said. "If you're playing right, you get used to the tail to the right. When you're in left, you adjust that way. That's why you take time to get the jumps and the reads in BP."
Lopez said Tucker has a maturity beyond his years.
"Kyle has game awareness and great baseball knowledge, and he probably gained a lot of insights from watching his brother," Lopez said. "[Kyle] is really off the charts in terms of his baseball IQ. He has great instincts and knows how to play the game. He's smart on the bases. He has all the tools you want. Obviously, he has room to improve, but that will come with experience, and the organization has a lot of good coaches who will work with him to help him develop." (Curt Rallo- MiLB.com - 6/16/2016)
Defensively, Tucker reads the ball off the bat better in right field than left. He is an average defender when he tries, but his poor effort chasing balls in the outfield turned off many observers. (Kyle Glaser - Baseball America - Oct 2018)
- 2020 Season: Tucker established himself both offensively and defensively. He finished tied for the AL lead in Defensive Runs Saved by left fielders with three, and ranked fourth in fielding percentage at .987. He also added two outfield assists. And he was nominated for a Gold Glove.
- Tucker is a very efficient base-stealer. From 2019 to 2021 with the Astros, he stole a combined 27 bases while getting caught only 3 times in 3 seasons.
- 2022 Gold Glove winner - Right field: Kyle Tucker, Astros
Known primarily for his bat -- and understandably so, considering his .860 OPS and 60 homers over the past two seasons -- Tucker has shown he’s also a fantastic right fielder. He led AL right fielders with 13 DRS, and with his first career Gold Glove, he joins Michael Bourn (2009-10) and Cesar Cedeno (1972-76) as the only Astros outfielders to win the honor.
Kyle has below-average speed—a 45. Tucker reads pitchers and times his jumps impressively, stealing a base on occasion.
- In 2014, Tucker was clocked at 6.77.
July 16-25, 2017: Tucker was on the DL.
June 16-23, 2021: Tucker was on the IL.
Aug 14-24, 2021: Kyle was on the IL.
Aug 24, 2021: Tucker confirmed on Aug. 24 he had tested positive for COVID-19, which was why he was placed on the injured list Aug. 14. Tucker, who is vaccinated, tested positive after hitting his first career grand slam Aug. 13 against the Angels in Anaheim, where he had to quarantine in a hotel room for several days before being allowed to travel to Houston. He wasn’t cleared to rejoin his teammates until Aug. 23.
- May 31, 2022: Tucker wasn't in the lineup in Oakland for the third game in a row after leaving the May 28 game in Seattle with what the team called left foot discomfort. Astros manager Dusty Baker said an MRI showed no structural damage. He is considered day-to-day.
- Aug 6, 2022: Though he was in Houston's initial lineup, Tucker was once again a late scratch due to a non-COVID illness.