One of the more advertised minor league signings for the Colorado Rockies in the offseason was the pact with former Pittsburgh Pirates first-round pick Cole Tucker. Despite a mass amount of potential, Tucker wasn’t able to establish himself at the big-league level in parts of four seasons with the Pirates. In his career, he has batted .211/.259/.314 line over 469 big league plate appearances
Somehow, in some way, Tucker has enjoyed a strong season down in Triple-A Albuquerque to earn a spot with the Rockies late in the 2023 season.
Start of Something New
There is some sort of magic in the air down in Triple-A Albuquerque. You can point to the level of competition and location partly obviously, but Jordan Pacheco and the rest of the Albuquerque coaching staff have continued to churn out results in the Pacific Coast League.
During the 2022 minor league season, Tucker batted .209/.279/.276 across 49 games with a pair of home runs, 51 strikeouts and 17 walks. Combined with his lackluster major league showings, it seemed in the cards that Tucker wasn’t going to be able to crack through but the Rockies took a chance on the switch-hitting utility player to see if they can tap into the potential.
Tucker has enjoyed an incredible boost in Albuquerque this season. In 58 games,, he is batting .311/.420/.460 with five home runs, 34 RBI, 51 strikeouts and 41 walks. Tucker has improved in every aspect of his offensive game while being a key contributor since coming back in June from an injury.
Tucker’s 15.7% walk rate is the best of his professional career while his 19.1% strikeout rate falls in line with his career average. His ability to get on base has been quite helpful, especially when it has been aided by a .381 BABIP, .400 wOBA, and a 120 wRC+ that have helped boost Albuquerque’s offense into a dangerous unit. Out of the 92 PCL hitters with over 200 plate appearances, Tucker ranks 13th in on-base percentage. Stolen bases aren’t part of his game much anymore since he stole 35 in Double-A back in 2018, but the on-base skills are obviously intriguing for the Rockies.
You’re not going to get a lot of power from Tucker, evidenced by the five home runs, but he does have 16 doubles. He’s definitely still hitting a few too many ground balls, but he has at least increased his line drive production this season while not getting underneath the baseball, resulting in fewer fly balls.
Gotta Go My Own Way
Beyond that, however, is the fact that he has been a solid switch-hitter this season. In 196 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers, Tucker is batting .280/.413/.465 with 33 strikeouts to 37 walks. Despite a smaller sample size of 71 plate appearances as a right-handed batter, Tucker has still batted .385/.437/.446 which is another testament to his on-base skills this season.
Also, if you’re wondering about how he does in the clutch, he is batting .370/.528/.556 with runners in scoring position and/or two outs. In fact, he has 15 extra-base hits in those scenarios as well as just five strikeouts to nine walks.
All for One
Beyond the offensive skills, Tucker has shown off his quality glove work all season. Tucker has seen the majority of his work come at second base (148 1⁄3 innings), center field (204 1⁄3 innings), and right field (114 1⁄3 innings). While we don’t have as many defensive metrics available this year because he is in Triple-A, we can make some assumptions simply from the fact that he has made just one error this season. We can also take note of some of the highlights below.
Remember that sweet play Cole Tucker made a whole one pitch ago? Well he does it AGAIN!! Take a bow, Cole! pic.twitter.com/WprvbQKjDc— Albuquerque Isotopes (@ABQTopes) August 6, 2023
Oh, and he can play first base like a natural as well if needed.
We Are All in This Together
Cole Tucker is the type of utility player that seems to be a great fit for the Rockies. He provides quality defense across the board at pretty much every position and is a quality switch-hitter. Additionally, having a high on-base guy is something the Rockies could really use right now and, ideally, he manages to displace Harold Castro because he is just 27 years old and they essentially fill the same role. If he can succeed in the brief playing time he could potentially get this season, it makes it easier to keep him around for next season because he still has some future potential to aid the team in that utility role in 2024 without really blocking anyone.
Tucker may not have lived up to the potential of being drafted in the first round, but there is still a lot of baseball left in him to pave a path to a different sort of success and I’m glad the Rockies are looking at giving him the chance.
Plus, Vanessa Hudgens at Coors Field is a cool thought.
After injuring his shoulder on a risky play, it’s understandable that Brendan Rodgers would probably be a bit more cautious in his return. As a result, he’s reminding himself to always slide feet first into bases, and working on expanding his range so he can stay on his feet as much as possible. Unfortunately, that has already had some growing pains as he tweaked his hamstring Monday night on a play he ranged for to his right. Still, better than hurting his shoulder again.
WATCH: The Shocking Decline of the Cubs’ World Series Core | Jolly Olive (YouTube)
Jolly Olive, a YouTuber and member of the Jomboy Media brand, posted a video recently about the decline of three of the Chicago Cubs' key players of the 2016 season. Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and our very own Kris Bryant. It’s an interesting video and points out some interesting things about their journeys. Bryant’s part begins at about the 9:40 mark in the video.
On the Farm
Jake Rogers started on the mound and had a rough night, surrending all 10 runs on 12 hits in 3 2⁄3 innings of work. There wasn’t much home to write about for the Isotopes offensively, but Hunter Goodman made his Triple-A debut and launched his a grand slam in his first at-bat with the Isotopes.
Case Williams was on point tonight as he allowed just one run on six hits in 5 1⁄3 innings of work. The bullpen then stepped in and didn’t allow a single run while scattering just four hits. Kyle Datres was driving factor offensively, tallying two hits and driving in a pair. Additionally, Drew Romo had a pair of doubles and drove in two runs.
Both teams threw out eight hits, but Spokane made theirs count as they won 7-2. Braiden Ward, Juan Guerrero, and Ben Sems all had two hits while Ronaiker Palma drove in a pair of runs on no hits. They provided enough support for the pitching staff after Cullen Kafka pitched 2 2⁄3 innings to start and allowed two runs, passing the baton to Evan Shawver who then tossed three shutout innings.
It was an error filled games as both teams combined for nine errors, resulting in eight earned runs in total. As a result of the errors, Fresno starter Gabriel Barbosa gave up six totals runs in 4 2⁄3 innings of work, but only two were earned. They scattered eight hits, highlighted by EJ Andrews Jr. netting a pair, including a two-run home run.
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!