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What Kyle Tucker is doing deserves more credit – and even an extension

Tucker has been an absolute star for the Astros since the shortened 2020 season. Numbers assure that!

MLB: World Series-Houston Astros at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

When looking at the Astros lineup, you might be tempted to go with José Altuve’s greatness or with Yordan Álvarez’s massive raw power. But if you look beyond, there’s someone who’s also doing great offensive things at the plate for Houston. And that is Kyle Tucker.

King Tuck, who will turn 26 years old this Tuesday, completed another impressive season in 2022, playing in 150 games. Even though his OPS wasn’t as high as his 2021 mark, he still hit 28 doubles and 30 homers with a career-high 107 RBIs, 71 runs, 25 steals over 29 attempts, 59 walks, and 95 strikeouts. His offensive line sat at .257/.330/.478/.808.

Along with those stats, Tucker went to the All-Star Game for the first time, won the Gold Glove as right-fielder, and finished in 15th place in the MVP award voting. In the World Series, the youngster swatted two long balls and drove in five runs to help the Astros win it all.

But that’s not it. There are only 19 players with at least 60 home runs since 2021 – a list easily led by Aaron Judge’s 101 dingers. Tucker’s one of them (60), and the only other Astro besides Álvarez (70). Also, Tucker’s 199 runs batted in over the cited period are the 12th-most in baseball. As if it wasn’t enough, Kyle’s 39 swipes rank 16th in the Majors.

Speaking of those three departments, there are only two players in the Majors with at least 65 home runs, 240 ribbies, and 45 stolen bases. Those are Guardians’ José Ramírez and Kyle Tucker. If you add that to the fact that Tucker plays an excellent defense in right field, we’re saying the word ELITE.

The Astros already locked in Yordan with a contract extension for six years and $115 million, which could look like a bargain sooner than later if Álvarez keeps producing at his current star level. Now, it’s about time to think about giving Tucker a contract extension that makes him an Astro for a long time.

Fortunately, the Astros still have time as the outfielder won’t become a free agent until the end of the 2025 season. But as time passes, they’re taking the risk of seeing how Tucker keeps raising his value by playing great baseball without making much noise. The 2023 season will be another test for Tucker – performing at a high level once again might put him a bit closer to a millionaire extension. Time will tell.