The Pirates have announced their acquisition of Yu Chang from the Guardians, which was reported yesterday. In order to create space for Chang on the 40-man roster, utility player Cole Tucker has been designated for assignment. A corresponding move on the active roster will be required once Chang reports to the team.
This potentially marks the disappointing end of the Tucker-Pirates relationship that was once so full of hope. Tucker was a first round selection of the Pirates in 2014, 24th overall. As he rose through the ranks of the minors, he was considered by Baseball America to be one of the club’s ten best prospects from 2015 to 2019.
Tucker often impressed with his defense and speed, stealing over 30 bags in the minors in both 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately, his bat never provided enough for him to earn any kind of extended look in the big leagues. This is his fourth season seeing MLB action, yet he’s never played more than the 56 games he got in his 2019 debut.
Tucker exclusively played shortstop that first season, when it was hoped that he could take the position and run with it for years to come. But after a tepid .211/.266/.361 batting line on the year for a wRC+ of just 60, the club tried transitioning him into a super utility type, slotting him in at each infield position as well as center and right field at times. He never really seemed to settle into a good home anywhere on the diamond, and the bat never did anything to justify his roster spot. He’s now played 154 games over the past four seasons with 469 plate appearances, roughly a full season’s worth. His career batting line is .211/.259/.314 for a wRC+ of just 53. He has a 6% walk rate and 27.5% strikeout rate, both of those being a bit worse than league average. Despite his speed, he only has four steals on his ledger.
The Pirates will now have a week to try and trade Tucker or put him on waivers. Despite all those struggles, Tucker is still just 25 years old and is in his final option year. Some rival team could put in a claim and send him to Triple-A for the final few months of the year and see if he can get into any kind of a groove. But he’ll be out of options next year, meaning he’ll need to keep his roster spot or else be designated for assignment again. Should he clear waivers, the Pirates can keep him in the minors without him taking up a spot on the 40-man roster.
He needs a fresh start he still young.
Yeah, but as several people around here needs reminding at times. Being a good player is more important than being young. Lots of players are young. Not a lot deserve to be in the big leagues.
A fresh start meaning in another club’s minor league system not necessarily on the major league roster
The pick after Cole Tucker was Matt Chapman.
Oh well, it happens. The pick after Randall Grichuck was Mike Trout and the pick after Chad Mottola was Derek Jeter.
Wow! Imagine the Bucs with Trout, Chapman & Jeter in their history.
Crazy thing is if mlb didn’t alternate leagues in the draft. The pirates could’ve had bonds and Griffey in the same outfield
Angels picked both Grichuk and Trout. If they had just one pick, they would have chosen Trout. The Angels were all over Trout when other teams thought he be better served going to college.
The Angels had back to back picks in this draft. Randall Grichuk was selected by the Angels before Trout due to Grichuk’s slot value. Had the Angels not had back to back picks they would have selected Trout over Grichuk.
I know that Trout and Grichuck were drafted by the Angels, but my point is you can find an instance of one of the best players in the draft being passed up by a handful of teams in every draft. Goldschmidt was an 8th round pick. Nolan Arenado was a second round pick. Jason Hursh was picked before Aaron Judge.
I often think of the 2016 draft in terms of how much of a crapshoot baseball is. I know it’s only been six years and there will likely be at least a couple of guys who will turn into something impressive, but if we were redrafting today, the top three picks would probably be some sort of combination of Bo Bichette (went #66), Corbin Burnes (went #111) and Shane Bieber (went #122). To round out the top 5 in a redraft you’d probably have two of the following: Will Smith (went #32), Bryan Reynolds (went #59) and Pete Alonso (went #64).
Two legitimate #1 pitchers who’ve both won Cy Young awards, one of the best shortstops in the game and three other very good All-Star calibre players – none of whom were even drafted in the top 30.
2014 in particular kills me as a Jays fan. We took Jeff Hoffman at #9 and then the Mets took Michael Conforto one pick later; then we took Max Pentecost at #11 and then the Padres took Trea Turner at #13
Baseball draft is a little different in the sense of pick values, players do t always get picked were they are ranked
That 2016 draft is particularly bad for a Rockies fan. I think in a redraft, Burnes and Bieber would go 1-2 without a doubt. Alonso would surely go #3. Which would let Bichette go exactly where he should have gone, Colorado. I cannot believe they chose three bad pitchers ahead of him.
In fairness, there were a lot of picks before Tucker that didn’t accomplish as much in the bigs including the #1 and #2 picks.
I looked at some mock drafts and only one had Chapman going in the first round. Jim Callis had him going to the A’s the night before the draft so he might have known something.
A couple other mocks had Chapman going in the supplemental round. So, good for the A’s picking well.
I wasn’t checking where Cole Tucker slotted in the mocks, but don’t remember seeing him pop up when I was scrolling through. So, the Bucs may have reached here.
Tucker is a cool dude, and I hope he figures it out eventually. Just don’t know if it’s going to be with us.
I know Tucker was a left over from the Huntington era, a period where scouting and development were akin to the great mystery of our time. You’d like to think Cherington has much better scouts and development personnel.
Huntington was more about the athleticism and positional flexibility than overall talent and ability. Not saying athleticism isn’t important, but it can only carry you so far.
How about being a cool dude, does that help?
The makeup component
Mendoza Line 215
Spooky- I think that it hurt Tucker because he may have been more interested in entertaining people rather than working to maximize his talent.
I’m a Tucker fan, but it’s time for him to move on. Hopefully, it pans out for him.
Ghost of past pirates
Good luck Cole, maybe a change of scenery will work out for you
He’s just a bust. Would be shocked if he figures it out. Seemed like it was going to happen after the yu chang signing. A guy like Mitch Keller has shown signs he can be good, but I haven’t ever seen anything from tucker in his entire career.
In nurse follars
Hitting a baseball hard and consistently is the hardest thing to do in sports. Even great athletes wash out. its what makes baseball the greatest team sport ever devised. Tucker may be an outstanding athlete but baseball proves over and over again its not enough.
Would not mind if 5he Orioles would pickup Tucker. We could use him as a defensive substitute in late games.
I know he can’t hit but any pirates fans here know how good he is defensively?
He makes Jose Canseco look like a gold glover in the outfield. In the infield he’s fine, nothing special or detrimental. I’m sure multiple teams will put a claim in for him, only to learn what Bucs fans already know…. he’s just not that good.
I can see an Angles – Pirates trade here.
Shore up that MIF
That’s an odd prediction. Angels have no shortage of middle infielders, and Fletcher is rehabbing from injury, due back second half of season. They’re even deeper in middle infielders who can’t hit.
Mendoza Line 215
Geo-It makes perfect sense if you understand the scientific term “ diffusion”.
Cherington just picked up a non hitting middle infielder even though they are very deep in that sort of player.In fact,they have almost cornered the market in such players.
The Angels are deep in them also,but not nearly as deep as the Pirates.
Hence,in nature,Tucker will flow from the Pirates to the Angels.
It is a natural occurrence for Pittsburgh.
Cole Tucker – another bad draft pick from the Greg Smith era.
He’ll catch on somewhere. Defensively he’s fine…. in the infield. Offensively he needs to shorten his swing. Very loopy. I’m surprised that former hitting coach Shelton now manager, couldn’t help him. That says something.
Sometimes players just won’t listen and do what they want to do.
Mendoza Line 215
Always-I would very much be surprised if Tucker had not been told that.
He may think that he is a slugger and turned a deaf ear to coach’s comments.
It anything he has gotten worse as a hitter which does say something.
He also may have gone to AAA with a bad attitude for all we know.
He is going to have to change his modus operandi if he wants to stick in the MLs.
he still has Vanessa Hudgens, dudes still copping Ws out here
I kind of wonder if these guys especially very young ones like Tucker that have famous girlfriends/wives if it holds them back do to high maintenance. It’s worked out for Verlander but he’s older.
In a league where guys like Velazquez are starting SS for playoff contenders, it’s too early to punt here. Speed, middle infield defense and switch hitting is enough to be useful to someone, even if the bat never takes a huge leap forward.
Imagine getting designated to make room for Yu Chang.
Mendoza Line 215
Suffer-That would knock the Hollywood out of anyone,
Ghost of past pirates
The pirates need to call up Martin to play first base. Let Cruz stay at Indy for a little longer. Come trade time, trade the older junkmen. Even if you don’t get anything for them. Gradually bring the kids up. By august they should be rebuilding
He and Scott Kingery should look at Nippon or Korea.
He got more of a chance than several in front of him did. Best of luck, maybe he’ll work harder.
Go woke and forget how to remain 100% dedicated to baseball. Oh well, now he can have more time to March and criticize America
That’s right, this is ‘Mercia, land of the free where everything is perfect and no one is allowed to criticize it.
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He’s been a Cubs killer. I just call him Nicole Tucker. Especially when he hits a scab homerun.