The Atlanta Braves still have a few holes on the roster. Would Preston Tucker be worth a look?
Preston Tucker was an unheralded pickup for the Atlanta Braves leading up to Spring Training. As the older brother to top 100 prospect Kyle Tucker, Preston Tucker often toils in obscurity and finds himself in his younger brother’s shadow. An injury in 2016 that led to shoulder surgery did not do him any favors last year. He spent 2017 in AAA and never performed well enough to merit a call up in a crowded Houston outfield.
Fully healthy in 2018, Preston Tucker is already turning heads. In an extremely, incredibly small sample size, Tucker is batting .308/.438/.385 with plenty of hard contact in 13 at-bats. He has shown great plate discipline as well, carrying a 3:1 K:BB ratio.
Given Preston’s track record, the power will come. In 144 PAs in 2016, Tucker hits line drives an average of 102.25 MPH, well above average. His fly balls were well struck as well, at 92.21 MPH. Both of those numbers would have been the best on the Braves in 2017. When you pair this with fly ball tendencies — 43.5% in AAA in 2017 — you’re on to something.
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Right place, right time
Tucker is a great fit in this era of the long ball. He won’t wow on defense, but he really doesn’t have to. As mentioned in a previous post, it won’t take much to improve markedly over what Matt Kemp provided in 2017. Tucker, again in limited sample, has shown to be below average in the OF, but not unplayable.
Tucker should be sheltered versus LHP, whom he has never hit well. As the strong side of a platoon, Tucker can stick on the roster for 2018 if he enjoys success. Even when Acuna arrives, Tucker would be a solid LHB bench bat. He’s out of options, so he will get a long look.
If Preston Tucker continues to show well in Spring Training, don’t be surprised to see him on the Atlanta Braves roster. Likewise, don’t be surprised if he proves to be a reliable lefty bench bat going forward.