The Astros announced today that they have signed No. 5 overall selection Kyle Tucker. Terms of the bonus weren’t disclosed by the team, but MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reports (via Twitter) that Tucker will receive a $4MM signing bonus, which is about $189K below the assigned slot value (Baseball America link). Tucker was advised by and is now a client of Excel Sports Management.
Tucker, a high school outfielder from Florida, is the younger brother of current Astros outfielder Preston Tucker. More importantly to the Astros, however, is that he was widely believed to be one of the 10 best players in this year’s draft. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs ranked Tucker fourth among draft prospects, while Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis of MLB.com ranked him seventh. Both Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law ranked Tucker as the eighth-best prospect in this year’s draft class.
McDaniel calls the younger Tucker a “way better prospect” than his older brother, praising his raw power as his best tool. Callis and Mayo agree, adding that Tucker should have average-or-better tools across the board and should eventually hit for both average and power. BA feels that he can hit for power to all fields (though the scouting report does note that his pull power outweighs his power to other fields), noting that he has a chance to stick in center field but the arm for right field should a move be necessary. Law seems to think he’ll move to a corner, where he feels Tucker to be capable of above-average defense.
“Kyle Tucker was one of the premier bats of this year’s draft class and has the ability to hit in the heart of our lineup in the future,” said Astros scouting director Mike Elias in today’s press release. “He’s a tall, strong left-handed hitter with a great swing, a track record of success and plus power to both fields. He also runs well and is a polished outfielder. We’re especially pleased to welcome him to our organization and we look forward to him playing alongside his older brother Preston in the Major Leagues.”
Tucker is one of two Top 5 picks the Astros had in 2015. The fifth overall pick was Houston’s natural pick in the draft, while the No. 2 overall pick (which the team used on LSU shortstop Alex Bregman) was compensation for not signing left-hander Brady Aiken after last year’s draft. Tucker, Bregman and No. 37 overall selection Daz Cameron were all regarded as Top 12 talents by the four lists linked above, giving Houston quite a haul with its top three picks. The $189K saved on Tucker’s bonus could help the team sign Cameron, who slipped to the 37th pick due to signability issues and will certainly require a bonus that is well above-slot in order to break his commitment to Florida State.