Another big Astros’ call-up: “The Kid” appears


July 20, 2011

April 16, 2014

June 8, 2015

July 25, 2016

And now…. July 7, 2018

The Houston Astros have had a series of debuts of home-grown every day players in the last few years. Some highly anticipated, some barely acknowledged. And now added to the mix is their latest hopeful for a long term star career with the big club. Kyle Tucker.

July 20, 2011 – The year 2011, the Astros were in a free fall and had to reach mostly down to AA for assistance out of a very weak farm system. They pulled too young Jordan Lyles out of AAA, but Jimmy Paredes, J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve (21 y.o.) made the jump from AA. Altuve who had been batting .389 in two minor league starts in 2011 made his debut on July 20th and Martinez (who has become a terrific power hitter – elsewhere) debuted 10 days later. Jose hit solidly with little power the rest of 2011, made the All Star team in 2012, played poorly in 2013 and then became a true superstar starting in 2014. Altuve’s call-up was not one the fans were clamoring for at the time, but was one of the big moments in Astros’ history.

April 16, 2014 – Now this was a call-up that the fans had been screaming for all through the 2013 season and coming out of Spring training 2014. In two minor league stops in 2013, former 11th overall pick George Springer was all-World with 106 runs scored, 37 HRs, and 108 RBIs. But the Astros who were going nowhere, held him out of the majors for mostly financial reasons and he came up on April 16th at the age of 24 y.o.. Springer was totally ineffective in his first half a month, then went crazy in May, cooled off in June and was injured for the rest of the season in July. While he is not the most consistent hitter, his high points have included an All-Star appearance and a WS MVP trophy.

June 8, 2015 – Being an overall first pick by the Astros in 2012, Correa’s debut was highly anticipated during his quick rise through the minors. A broken leg in 2014 cost him half a season, but he spent only 29 games at AA and 24 games at AAA before playing his first MLB game on June 8 at the age of 20. He went on to win the Rookie of the Year in 2015, was an All-star in 2017 and has established himself as one of the best, but slightly injury prone, young SS’s in the majors.

July 25, 2016 – If the Astros had not discovered Brady Aiken’s dodgy UCL….. If Aiken and his agent had not balked at the Astros’ lowered offer or subsequently raised offer. If not for this, the Astros would not have traded in their overall #1 draft pick in 2011 for the overall #2 draft pick in 2012 – Alex Bregman. Bregman was super solid in his quick rise through the minors and joined the Astros’ on July 25 in their disappointing bridge year between the 2015 playoff appearance and their 2017 WS win. Bregman struggled mightily at first going 2 for his first 38 ABs. He then turned it around and in his third season is proving to be one of the most solid and dependable bats on the planet.

July 7, 2018 – And now it is Kyle Tucker’s turn. The fifth overall pick of the 2015 draft has shown a strong bat at every level in the minors and as he is brought up he is sporting a .306 BA/.371 OBP/ .892 OPS line with 62 runs scored, 14 HRs, 66 RBIs and 14 SBs in 80 games.

The Astros don’t need Tucker to carry them. They just need him to learn the ropes and be a contributor in another drive towards the title.

SO….

  • Was this the right time to bring him up?
  • Is he going to be a Correa instant success?
  • Is he going to be a Bregman or Springer, who struggles before “getting it”?
  • Why did the Astros wait until Jake Marisnick was playing better to do this?
  • What will happen next?
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65 comments on “Another big Astros’ call-up: “The Kid” appears

  1. I was surprised by the timing of this and that Jake got sent down but I think there is wisdom in the move. Tucker is a potential front line starter while Jake never will be. Tucker is a luxury but why not let him grow up on a really good team that has frankly been pretty unimpressive in left field. It also gives Jake the chance to get regular ABs. Whenever Jake has been sent down or had the opportunity for an extended minor league rehab there has been an injury that brought him back too soon. And frankly Kemp’s body of work had been better. The tough decision will come at the end of September when the playoff roster gets set. Unless the team only carries twelve pitchers Kemp or Marisnick will get left off the post-season roster.

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    • Good points doc. It just feels like they may package Jake or Kemp in a trade.

      The Kid starts out his career with 3 Ks followed by a single and run scored and a bases loaded walk and RBI.

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      • Not a bad start. Shields was getting lots of swings and misses so nothing to be ashamed of. probably a lot of butterflies in his stomach too. Another “W” for the good guys and Seattle loss so we pick up another game.

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    • Well they will have the distinct advantage of not carrying a third catcher on that playoff roster like they did with Centeno last fall. They already have a third catcher as their DH. So, they will have an extra spot this year.

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  2. I was at Bregman’s debut. He came up late in the game with the tying and winning runs on base and hit a deep fly to right. The stadium went from the penthouse to the outhouse during the flight of the ball that was caught on the track. I’m glad we stuck with him.

    Of course all one has to look at are Bregman’s stats to know he’s on fire but have any of you noticed that he has used the same bat for over four weeks? Not the same model, but the same exact bat. That’s a testimony to the quality of contact he’s making. Perhaps they need to put that bat in a vault between games.

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  3. Do you know how fabulous it would be if Charlie Morton made the All-Star team? With an 11-2 record and a 2.58 ERA and a huge K-rate, he certainly deserves to be on that team. To be named to it would have to be one of the most improbable comeback stories in anyone’s career.
    Finally, if Eddie Rosario of the Twins doesn’t make the team, they ought to just stop having an All-Star game. How does Marwin get more votes than him? Look at what Rosario has done this year.

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    • Charlie should pitch in the summer event. I suspect he’ll be taking Verlanders slot. He’s certainly deserving. And what a wonderful moment in time for him.

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  4. Funny you mentioned the Twins. The other day when I was seeking trades, I was wondering if Trevor Hildenberger might be of interest to our front office. Then saw the 4.2 WAR for Rosario for this year. Wondered if they might be “sellers” although in 2nd place. The Twins already have Grossman, Castro, Petit, and perhaps other Ex’s.

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  5. yes its a good time to bring him up
    i dont expect correa -like instant success, but i sure will take it
    i expect he will struggle a bit and have mixed success, be sent back down to work on some adjustments and then be back up in sept or before for the stretch run and have good success then.
    i think they wanted to see him at home in a controlled environment for this first dip into the major leagues. this homestand provided that and was why the timing was the way it was. jake gets regular at bats in the minors which is a good move as well.
    tucker has mixed success (as most first time call ups do) and is sent back down to work out a glitch or two, tags out with jake as he heads back up after working out a glitch or two (please oh please baseball gods). then returns in mid to late august plays well and stays up with the big club for the rest of the year.

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  6. To answer your questions, when I read McTaggert’s tweet that he was coming , I thought it was a joke. So very surprised. Well he won’t do a Bregman 0-18, so my guess is more in the middle. So .250 would work. Jake is streaky so when he is hot might be the right time because he will probably be 0 for rest of July. I am like everyone else, I think several AAAA guys will be moving on. Especially the over 26 crowd. And we should wish them the best.

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  7. The crowd at MMP was the star today, not KTuck. The stadium was electric and the place was buzzing all afternoon. Congratulations, Houston. You were great again today.
    I don’t really want to talk about Marisnick. I don’t think KT was brought up to be temporary. Luhnow has never operated that way with top draft picks. When the club thinks they are ready, they are brought up and they stay up. I think they want to look at him for the rest of the year, evaluate if he is one of the best 25 players they have for the playoffs and no matter whether he makes the playoff roster or not, he will be with the Astros on opening day next year.
    I don’t know if he is going to be great, but I hope a bunch of Alex Bregman’s baseball sense rubs off all over Tucker.
    George Springer hit a ball hard today.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. the Astros have several players who may turn out to be once in a lifetime types and if Tucker turns out to be one of them we may be looking at a dynasty.

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  9. One thing that I have noticed about our starting pitchers as of late. It seems that they are tiring earlier for one and are not as sharp as they have been in the previous outings. Thus they are getting hit harder and more frequently. This has been true of JV and Cole whose pitches seem a little less “active” and/or seem to be missing the zone more often. Those that miss appear to more of the plate than previously noted. Morton was good until he obviously ran out of gas yesterday. Hinch left him in for one or two batters too long. Not sure if they are tiring or what but just wanted to point that out. Verlander, Cole and Morton’s ERA has increased during the last month. Keuchel is kind of up and down and LMJ seems to be trending better. Don’t really know what this indicates if anything but thought maybe JV, Cole, and Morton may be tiring somewhat. Something to think about entering into the latter part of the season where we need to have all rested and ready for the stretch drive. Of course if we can score more than 5 runs a game this shouldn’t be an issue. Is that unrealistic? I don’t think so.

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    • I don’t think it’s okay, but then I was one of the few sweating the fact that Cora left in the first place and ended up where he did. And then double then again, this is pro ball and all the guys at the top, whichever team, have more in common with each other than any at the bottom, or certainly with any of us fans.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah….not cool. You will forgive me if I say I don’t like Alex Cora anymore.
      Kind of an unspoken rule….don’t go public with everything you know😠

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Maybe I’m on the other side of the issue but I don’t feel like Cora telling our strategy against his current stud pitcher violates anything. Do you think we did not find out how one of the best franchises in baseball – the Cards – did their business when we brought in Luhnow and company?
    Teams forever have picked up players off waivers from rivals just to get insight and inside info on signs and such.
    In business we quiz employees from outside on anything they might bring to us from outside that might improve us. Not patented processes but just fresh ideas for improvement.

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    • That is my point, Dan. The guys at the top have more in common with each other than we will ever have with them. It is a business, my friend, our beloved baseball is a business. The devil comes in and corrupts what God has created in love. It’s the way it is. But the enemy won’t have the final say.

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  11. On a side note about Kyle Tucker. After seeing him yesterday, any time a bench clearing brawl breaks out, he needs to run and stand between Gattis and Rondon or Harris. Sure doesn’t look like 190 pounds to me.

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  12. Tough tight win to sweep the series (and the season series) with the Chisox.
    Keuchel with another good start, just enough offense including a squeeze bunt by Marwin and a dinger by Altuve and McHugh and Rondon finishing it off.

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  13. Our *real* rivals come in tomorrow. The A’s, play us soo tough they will battle every pitch. Keep on your toes guys…..they aren’t going to roll over for anyone!!

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  14. So far – and of course it is early – KTuck’s swing looks a little bit long and slow for the MLB. He may need a little work with Bregman and Gurriel to get him ready for prime time. Then again, he may turn around destroy the A’s always excellent pitchers after struggling against the ChiSox’s mediocre ones.

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  15. I’m sure the error worked on him today, since I can’t see them I haven’t been able to see if he’s over matched at the plate. He will do fine, as long as the older guys take him under their wings! I REALLY like Rondon closing, he appears to be more calm out there instead of Giles. Women’s intuition….but I think Giles is gonna be apart of a trade soon. The Yankees are VERY interested in Brad Hand, I wonder who they have to trade for him with. Brad Hand would look good in a blue and orange Astros uniform!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Glad for these guys making it but Gurriel and McHugh were just as deserving. Just curious that since Verlander can’t pitch how about McHugh taking his place. I actually think Gurriel deserves it more than Springer. Bregman definitely deserves the nod.

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  17. The AL West has 254 total wins.
    The AL East has 230 total wins.
    The AL Central has 183 total wins.

    The NL East has 231 total wins.
    The NL West has 230 total wins.
    The NL Central has 216 total wins.

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    • Uhhhhh – no – I never heard about that.
      Apparently, Bill Bellichick – oops I mean Jeff Luhnow – believes we are on a need to know basis and we did not need to know until he was back.

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  18. Well it is obvious that Altuve did not get to play “hot box” enough as a kid.

    (For those of you that started elementary school after Truman was no longer President, kids used to play “Hot Box.” Two players plus one runner. The game was to tag out the runner before he could get to the next base. The runner, get trapped going to the next base, on purpose. Then try to go back and forth until he caused an overthrow or a mistake by one of the fielders.)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotbox_(baseball)

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  19. We really look good against the bad teams in our league. Things change all too quickly, though, when we face teams with a winning record. Without either Correa or Gurriel to serve as our anchor in the middle, and with a rookie who is badly over-matched in his first week in the league in our line-up, it isn’t a very inspiring picture.

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    • I’m not agreeing on this Mr Bill – if the A’s are one of the good teams – the Astros are now 8-2 against them. M’s? 4-2. Indians? 4-3. Red Sox? 2-2. The only good AL team that has a winning record against them is the Yanks 2-5.

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    • Are we talking about last night? It looked like a pretty solid lineup against Oakland. My real answer to your question, however, is that with the All Star break coming up most guys don’t need a break, but Hinch is probably more concerned with getting everyone into the lineup regularly. No one wants to sit on the bench.

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  20. I’m sure Justin Verlander was sitting in the dugout thinking, this will be his fate tomorrow night. Something needs to change, and in a hurry. The Astros think only one thing, *homeruns* not doubles or singles, or bunting. I was actually shocked yesterday when Marwin bunted Yuli in. *SHOCKED*. This A’S team ain’t gonna roll over for ANYONE. Our true rivals live in Oakland California …not in arlington texas.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. That “home run or nothing “ is something they’re taught at this level.
    They don’t all come here with that mentality.

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    • Sandy, your comment caused me to look up some stats.

      The Astros (using Non-Pitchers stats) strikeout at a 22.65% of the time. Their OPS is .773. The A’s -24.96% – .741. The Red Sox 21.83% -.799.
      Now if we go back to the best team in 1961 (Yanks) when Colt 45s started. K-11.91% – OPS .805. And if we use the best team of all time (maybe) the 1927 Yanks – 10.3% with .905. So over a long time, the game has changed dramatically. Maybe more use of the bullpen, perhaps more travel, perhaps more night games, but it is acceptable to strike out over 20% of the time for any team.

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  22. Relative to home runs and Ks
    Last night on the broadcast they were talking about how it was the 50th anniversary of the 1968 All Star game in the Astrodome. Despite having Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Rod Carew, Willie McCovey, Frank Howard, Harmon Killebrew, Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Perez, Boog Powell, Johnny Bench, etc. the game ended 1-0.
    This was the year of the pitcher – the season that led up to the lowering of the pitching mound before the 1969 season.
    The major league team average ERA was 2.98, the runs scored were 3.44 runs per game (per team), 0.5 HRs per game (per team), but only 5.9 Ks per game (per team).
    This was the worst offensive year since 1908 back in the dead ball era.
    By comparison – the major league team averages this season are 4.10 ERA / 4.40 runs per game per team / 1.1 HR per game per team / 8.5 Ks per game per team.
    Back in 1968, Bob Gibson had the most insane season with a 1.12 ERA with 28 complete games and 13 shutouts in 34 starts. And somehow he lost 9 games (22-9) – so Verlander and Cole are not the first pitchers to sue for non-support. As good as Gibson was – he only struck out 7.9 Ks per 9 IP – less that today’s average.
    It was a different time back then with 1/2 the HRs of today, 3/4 the runs scored and about 70% of the Ks.

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  23. Somebody has to interpret the stats for me to understand this home run discussion. What does it all mean? And if home runs are the bad guys here, should we put the kibosh on Tony Kemp and his jerseys?

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    • Baseline for me is that things are “different” not necessarily good or bad. The guys used to strike out less and hit a lot less HRs and score less runs, but there are other things that tie into that including newer ballparks that are a bit more hitter friendly, more muscular hitters, more folks trying to get the right launch angle, etc.

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    • Diane, my thought is very few in baseball innovate, but everyone will replicate what someone does to win. It has been that way forever. There was a time, when getting on base was the most important thing in the world. Then Babe Ruth came along and filled the stands with homers and charisma.

      The Astros were innovative in losing and trading off all their chips to turn it around. Some like me and several talking heads on TV thought it stupid and would not work. It did work, and now several teams are tanking and trying to do what the Astros did. As to home runs, normally more HRs mean more strikeouts. But as you can see, there have been times in the past, when things went the other way. Back when I first started watching the game, you tried for a homer on strike one and two. Then you choked up and shortened your swing. Then guys like Mantle and Maris came along. They NEVER choked up. Probably one day in the future, someone will win the pennant with walks, singles, stolen bases, and few home runs. Then all the other teams will copy. Just the shift, it was innovative and dumb. Now, every team uses it some.

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  24. I will also add that I’m still trying to figure out why Luhnow chose to bring up Tucker now. The Astros have been playing their best baseball of the year with both Kemp and Marisnick on the roster. Jake, as previously mentioned, had an OPS over 1.000 in June.

    I get the argument that Tucker has historically been a slow starter at each level. But his minor league stats overall, while good, have not been remarkable. Not like Springer or Altuve or Correa or Bregman. Even Fisher came up from AAA with better stats at that level than Tucker has posted.

    At the same time, the consensus throughout the industry is that Tucker is going to be a special player. I’m just not sure if at 21 he is as advanced as a kid like Carlos Correa was. If he’s not ready to go, I have some concern that his struggles will become a distraction. On the flip side, if he awakens as he is obvouisly expected to, then he’ll give an already special club a further boost. Luhnow gets it right most of the time. I was going to wait and say nothing. Maybe there is something else to the picture that we’ve just not seen yet.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Note there is a new post on what the team might look like in 2020, but it is in a little different place for the moment – it shows up as the “big” post below the normal top left spot.

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