The Braves have signed Preston Tucker to a minor league contract, according to an announcement from Double-A broadcaster Chris Harris (on Twitter). It’ll be the second stint in the organization for the now 31-year-old outfielder, who appeared in 80 games with the Braves back in 2018.
That stint marked Tucker’s most recent as a major leaguer. He preceded his younger brother Kyle Tucker in the Astros outfield, breaking in with Houston in 2015. The elder Tucker hit a serviceable .243/.297/.437 as a rookie, but he mustered only a .164/.222/.328 mark in 48 games the following season. After spending the entire 2017 campaign in Triple-A, Tucker split the 2018 season between the Reds and Braves.
Over parts of three MLB seasons, the left-handed hitter owns a .222/.281/.403 line. In 2019, he made the jump to the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization, kicking off a productive three-year run there. Tucker was one of the better players in the KBO during each of his first two seasons, following up a .311/.381/.479 debut showing with an even better .306/.398/.557 line in 2020.
Tucker’s production fell during his final season with the Gwangju-based Tigers. He managed just nine homers and a .113 isolated power (slugging minus batting average) in 539 plate appearances last season. His strikeout and walk numbers remained impressive, but Tucker’s results on batted balls evaporated en route to a .237/.334/.350 line. Nevertheless, Tucker still had a quality .284/.372/.466 mark in three KBO seasons.
He’ll now make the return to affiliated ball in hopes of getting back to the majors for the first time in four years. He’s strictly a corner outfield option, and the Braves already have Adam Duvall, Marcell Ozuna, Eddie Rosario and Alex Dickerson likely to receive playing time there. Travis Demeritte and the center field-capable Guillermo Heredia and Drew Waters are also on the 40-man roster (as, of course, is star Ronald Acuña Jr.). Tucker likely slots behind that group on the organizational depth chart, but he’ll have an opportunity to try to his play his way onto the radar with a productive high minors showing.