The good news about this particular post is that while we, as fans, can argue whether Yordan Alvarez or Kyle Tucker provide more value to the Astros, the team does not have to make that decision. Yet. Yet, because if both of these fine young players are still playing at a high level down the line, they both will hit free agency in the same off-season leading into the 2026 season. Now, that could be avoided by signing one or both to extensions along the way, but it could also set up a “choice” for the team at that time.
So, how do these two line up? Similarities? They are both left-handed hitters. They are both fairly stoic figures on the ball field. The broadcasters noted it when Tucker finally semi-smiled after a big hit last season. They are both 24 years old (Tucker about 5 months older), and they are both a big part of the Astros present and future plans.
Differences? Well, Yordan looks like an Adonis, a large sculpted mass of a human being, who could knock you down by just being in your vicinity. Kyle looks like one of those skin and bones lanky guys you meet in a friendly pick-up basketball game, who can drill the three-pointer, but gets easily boxed out on the rebounds. Yordan generates a super-powerful swing with a short address to the ball. Kyle has one of those longer looping with a bit of an uppercut swing. Tucker can move, though his long loping strides can be a bit deceiving at times. Yordan can move pretty decently (now his knees are repaired) for someone who should have his own zip code. Tucker got here by way of a fifth overall draft pick in 2015. The Dodgers signed Alvarez out of Cuba in the summer of 2016 but sent him to Houston six weeks later under the radar trade for reliever Josh Fields. Can you say Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen?
After Alvarez’s 2019 Rookie of the Year season, the question about relative value would not have been a real question. Alvarez set the world on fire in that half-season and was “Must See TV” throughout the year. Tucker had just finished his second cameo with the team, a much more successful one than his 2018 disaster, but still a small sample to judge his worth. But in 2020, Alvarez missed all but two games of the season, and Tucker established himself as a big-time run producer for the team. That has continued into 2021 as both Tucker and Alvarez have become big parts of a top-notch offense.
Comparing them for their careers…
Well, no doubt that Alvarez, to date in his career, is the dominant hitter, both in power and in just plain hitting. But if we look at 2021….
Looking at this season to date, the hitting gap between them has closed significantly, with Alvarez barely ahead. Pile unto this the fact that Tucker is rated highly as a right fielder. At the same time, Alvarez is barely passable as a part-time left fielder and the fact that Tucker is a stolen base threat (23 steals against only 3 caught stealing in his career), and Tucker is the better player in 2021.
So, a couple questions for you….
- Who do you think is the better long-term player for the Astros?
- Would you try to work out an early extension with either of them to buy out a year or two of free agency? Which one? Both?