The Houston Astros put outfielder George Springer on the disabled list today and promoted outfield prospect Preston Tucker from Triple-A Fresno. Springer is on the 7-day disabled list with concussion symptoms but it remains to be seen how long he will be out and what kind of opportunity Tucker will receive in the short run.
In the medium and long runs Tucker is certainly an interesting prospect. A seventh round pick in 2012 from the University of Florida, Tucker is a 6-0, 215 pound left-handed hitter and thrower, born July 6th, 1990. He was having an excellent season with Fresno, hitting a very robust .320/.378/.650 with 10 homers already (most in the minor leagues), nine walks and 18 strikeouts in 100 at-bats.
Although scouts have never been wild about his pure physical tools, Tucker has been an effective power hitter since college and has met the challenge successfully at every level of pro ball with a career minor league slash line of .318/.362/.506. He is primarily a pull hitter but isn't extreme about it and can drive the ball to the opposite field on occasion. His plate discipline and batting eye are reasonably efficient and he does not strike out excessively for a hitter with power.
Players like this are often stereotyped as platoon candidates, but Tucker has actually shown a reverse platoon split throughout his career, hitting .287/.362/.503 against right-handers but .321/.377/.512 against lefties. With the glove, he is a competent defender at either outfield corner and has some limited experience at first base.
Although it remains to be seen how Tucker will fit into Houston's long-term roster planning, he clearly has little left to prove in the minor leagues and provides another exciting young player for Astros fans to watch.