Top outfield prospect Kyle Tucker will headline the Astros’ September call-ups, per Jake Kaplan of The Athletic (Twitter links). He’ll be joined by catcher Garrett Stubbs and left-hander Cionel Perez at the big league level today. Infielder/outfielder Myles Straw could be recalled later this week, too, once he’s met the 10-day minimum requirement for an optional assignment.
This won’t be the big league debut for Tucker, who ascended to the Majors as a 21-year-old in 2018. Tucker tallied only 72 plate appearances last season, though, and didn’t immediately distinguish himself in the sparse playing time he was allotted. He’s had another strong showing in Triple-A this season — albeit not as strong as last season’s .332/.400/.590 output through 100 games. That said, Tucker did recently polish off a 30-30 season with Round Rock; through 536 plate appearances this season he batted .266/.354/.555 with 34 long balls and 30 steals.
Tucker, 22, ranked inside the top 20 prospects in Major League Baseball on the midseason rankings of Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, MLB.com and ESPN. He’s widely regarded as a potentially plus hitter with plus raw power who can cover enough ground in the outfield to play any of the three slots — though right field is typically believed to be his best position.
Houston’s outfield mix is crowded with Michael Brantley, George Springer, Josh Reddick and Jake Marisnick all in the fold, but Tucker should get some opportunities to showcase himself as a potential long-term piece in that outfield rotation and, perhaps, for a playoff roster spot. Each of Brantley, Springer, Reddick and Marisnick is signed or controlled through 2020, so there’s no immediate opening for next season unless the club makes some type of outfield move in the offseason. However, president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow has steadfastly declined to include Tucker in trade proposals for the past two years, suggesting that Tucker is indeed viewed as a likely building block for the ’Stros.
Looking to the other call-ups, Stubbs will give the Astros a bit of depth behind the dish, joining Robinson Chirinos and Martin Maldonado as a third option. The 26-year-old also has a bit of outfield experience but isn’t likely to factor into that equation much — if at all. He batted .240/.332/.397 in 235 plate appearances with Round Rock this season. The 23-year-old Perez, like most pitchers, struggled in this season’s high-octane offensive environment in Triple-A, working to a 5.36 ERA with 8.2 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.15 HR/9 and a 53.2 percent ground-ball rate in 47 innings. Houston doesn’t currently have a left-hander in the ’pen, so despite the fact that Perez has missed time with a forearm issue, he’ll join the club and give manager A.J. Hinch an option. Straw, 24, has batted .233/.353/.291 in 103 plate appearances with the Astros in 2019 and hit .322/.393/.396 with a homer and 19 steals in 309 Triple-A plate appearances.