Pittsburgh Pirates: Cole Tucker Needs to Continue to Play Every Day
By Marty Leap
Since returning to the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 1st former first-round pick Cole Tucker has played every day and this needs to continue throughout the rest of the season’s final month
The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Cole Tucker with the 24th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. Due to his bat failing to develop Tucker has yet to reach that first-round pedigree. Now, he could be facing his last chance with the Pirates.
On September 1st the Pittsburgh Pirates re-added Tucker to the team’s active roster. He has been in the starting lineup every day this month and this needs to continue throughout the remainder of the final month of the season.
With the Pittsburgh Pirates owning the fourth worst record in Major League Baseball there is no reason for Tucker to not continue to play every day down the stretch. While Tucker may never reach the first-round potential he was once viewed as having he could still develop into a quality utility man for the Pirates. In an effort to prove if he can fill this role or not he should play every day the rest of the season.
In his MLB career Tucker has struggled. Entering play on Sunday he had hit for just a .205/.248/.304 slash line to go with a 49 wRC+, 6.4% walk rate and 26.2% strikeout rate in 328 career plate appearances. While 328 PAs is a small sample size it does not make his results any less concerning.
Again, small sample size, but since rejoining the Pirates on September 1st Tucker has found some success at the plate. After going 2-for-3 with a walk in a 6-3 Pirate victory on Monday afternoon Tucker is now 6-for-23 with a double and 3 walks in 26 PAs.
Tucker has played shortstop, second base and the outfield since returning to the active roster. Coming through the minors Tucker was viewed as a potential Gold Glove defender at shortstop. However, as his bat struggled to develop, combined with Kevin Newman’s strong 2019 season, the Pirates started to play Tucker all over the field in an effort to raise his value to the club.
As Noah has discussed on the site previously the Pittsburgh Pirates will be facing a plethora of 40-man roster decisions this offseason due to the amount of highly touted prospects who are Rule 5 Draft eligible. Tucker is a player who would appear to be a candidate to come off the 40-man roster this offseason to make room for these prospects. This is why the Pirates need to give Tucker an extended opportunity to make one last pitch to remain on the 40-man roster, the only way to do this is to continue to play him every day the rest of the season.