Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking Neal Huntington’s First-Round Picks Part Two

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 12: Cole Tucker #3 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts to a ground ball up the middle against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the seventh inning at Oracle Park on September 12, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 12: Cole Tucker #3 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts to a ground ball up the middle against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the seventh inning at Oracle Park on September 12, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Number 6 – Shortstop Cole Tucker

2014 was the first of back-to-back drafts in which Huntington drafted a shortstop in the 1st round. The 2014 shortstop he took in the 1st round was the switch hitting, slick fielding Cole Tucker.

Tucker was touted as Gold Glove caliber shortstop with work to do offensively. That is exactly the player Tucker has been in his career. Although, since the start of 2018 Tucker has been an above average hitter in the minor leagues.

Due to injuries, Tucker made his MLB debut in 2019. While he hit what was essentially a walk off home run in his first career game, he hit a home run in the bottom of the 5th inning of a game against the San Francisco Giants to give the Pirates the lead and the game would then be called due to rain, it was obvious he was not ready offensively. Even though he finished the season strong, he still posted just a .211/.266/.361 slash line and a 61 wRC+ at the MLB level. However, his .150 ISO and 10.2% extra base hit rate were both encouraging.

Signs still point toward Tucker being the team’s shortstop of the future. New general manager Ben Cherington and his front office partners view Tucker as a future star at the shortstop position. While the shortstop position is currently occupied by a player we will get to later on the list, it would not be a surprise to see that player move to second base with Tucker taking over at shortstop.

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