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Should Kyle Tucker be called up?

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Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Astros have the #10 prospect in all of baseball, waiting in the wings, and with a month left of baseball before the play-offs, I decided to deep dive to see if he should get a second shot.

In the MLB, from a thousand foot high view, Kyle was miserable. In the majors, his triple slash came in dreaming to be near Mendoza at a stifling .154/.254/.212. In 20 games, he was good for a negative .5 WAR, and an absolutely horrible 36 wRC+.

In AAA, Tucker has nothing left to prove. Currently sitting at .332/.400/.590 with a 155 wRC+. He has a chance at winning the batting title, and is walking over 10% and striking out under 20% of his at bats. His power came alive, hitting 24 Home Runs in 465 PA, easily on pace for a 30+ HR full-season.

I don’t think any of the information above is surprising to the readers at TCB. But what if I told you, despite everything I just said about Tucker’s MLB performance, if I told you he was actually hitting extremely well in the MLB, but simply unlucky.

Let’s start out with sample size, which was only 52 AB, an incredibly small number to judge a player on. But on the luck side, let’s look at BABIP – where Tucker came in at .195. BABIP generally normalizes around .300 - dependent on player’s speed and hit profile. By BABIP standards. Out of 505 players with 50+ at bats, Tucker had the 25th worst BABIP luck in all of baseball.

Digging deeper let’s look at Tucker’s Expected Outcomes from Statcast/Baseball Savant which has this description:

Expected Outcome stats help to remove defense and ballpark from the equation to express the skill shown at the moment of batted ball contact. By looking at the exit velocity and launch angle of each batted ball, a Hit Probability is assigned based on the outcomes of comparable historic balls in play. By accumulating the expected outcomes of each batted ball with actual strikeouts, walks and hit by pitches, Expected Batting Average (xBA), Expected Slugging (xSLG), and (most importantly) Expected Weighted On-Base Average (xwOBA) tell the story of a player’s season based on quality of and amount of contact, not outcomes.

So what is Kyle Tucker’s expected triple slash line?

.286/.386/.426 with a xwOBA of .353

Currently, with all batters with 50 or more PA, Kyle Tucker has the largest differential between his wOBA and his xwOBA in all of baseball. Based on his actual performance in their model, Tucker’s xWOBA would make his hitting the 5th best hitter in our lineup (.002 behind Springer)

Tucker maintained his eye, still walking 8.5% and striking out in 18.6% of his at bats.

Since his demotion, Tucker has been hitting the cover off the ball, and with expanded rosters, calling him up would be easy. Imagine the impact he would make in the line-up if he hit to those expectations.

Do you think Tucker has earned another shot?

Poll

Should Kyle Tucker get another shot in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Yes
    (598 votes)
  • 18%
    No
    (139 votes)
737 votes total Vote Now