Residing on prospect radars for years, Kyle Tucker finally broke out in 2020 hitting .268/.325/.512 over 58 games spanning 228 plate appearances. Tucker led the Astros in triples (6), RBI (42), hits (56), stolen bases (8) and extra-base hits (27). Against his peers in the American League, Tucker finished first overall in triples, tied for sixth in extra-base hits and RBI while tying for seventh in steals. All told, he hit nine home runs and scored 33 runs for Houston during his first full season.

He also fared well in other areas notching a 7.9 walk percentage, 20.2 strikeout rate, .244 isolated power (ISO) and .349 weighted on-base average (wOBA). Tucker reduced his swinging strike percentage to a more palatable 10.3 percent, upped his contact rate (79.5 percent) and Z-Contact (in the strike zone) to 85.1 percent.

After appearing in 22 games in 2019, Tucker seemed much more comfortable last season and surged down the stretch. His last 39 contests yielded a .309 average (42-for-136) with seven doubles, five triples, eight home runs, 33 RBI and a robust .981 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).

According to Statcast, Tucker recorded 164 batted ball events with 15 barrels (9.1 percent), a 91.1 MPH average exit velocity and 44.5 hard hit rate. Reinforcing the step forward in plate discipline, Tucker kept his zone swing percentage stable but increased his zone contact percent by over six points to 82.6 in 2020. He also reduced his whiff percentage by 7.6 percent to 22.5. His expected statistics reflect quality of contact and Tucker owned a .267 expected batting average (xBA) and a .459 expected slugging (xSLG).

Before delving into his expanded results, a look back may help predict how Tucker continues in his progression. Here's his results from his last two levels of the minors before playing a full season with Houston:

?      Tucker Double-A: 72 games, 317 plate appearances, 39 runs, 16 home runs, 47 RBI, eight stolen bases; .265/.325/.512, 6.9 BB%, 20.2 K%

?      Tucker Triple-A: 225 games, 998 plate appearances, 178 runs, 58 home runs, 190 RBI, 50 stolen bases; .297/.375/.571, 10.8 BB%, 20 K%

Keep in mind, Tucker played in the Pacific Coast League, renowned for hitter friendly venues, still his power with speed combination cannot be overlooked at a time when many fantasy players crave this type of skill set.

Melding Tucker's 2019 cup of coffee with his full 2020 provides a little larger sample of his numbers:

?      Tucker 2H 2019-through-2020: 80 games, 300 plate appearances, 48 runs, 13 home runs, 53 RBI, 13 stolen bases; .268/.323/.518, 7.3 BB%, 22 K%, .250 ISO, .349 wOBA

For the visual crowd, here's Tucker's spray chart from these 300 plate appearances featuring all of his line drives and fly balls with Houston as the backdrop:

One would like to see Tucker produce more batted ball events to the opposite field over the fence, but once he learns how to reach the short porch in left field at Minute Maid Park, this may occur. However, team's may view his heatmap and start to shift him in 2021:

Tucker could make strides in 2021 in terms of converting his hard-hit rate and barrel percentage into more sweet spot contact as well:

Due to his limited exposure to the league, Tucker possesses the talent and pedigree to adjust in order to defray too much regression. There's going to be some highs and lows in 2021, but overall it projects to be a favorable one which resonates in his draft capital in the late second or early third round in most drafts. As for his projection sets, they vary slightly, especially in batting average but all portend a strong campaign:

?      Tucker 2021 THE BAT X projection: 149 games, 645 plate appearances, 91 runs, 28 home runs, 87 RBI, 19 stolen bases; .255/.323/.472, 8.6 BB%, 22.4 K%, .217 ISO, .336 wOBA

?      Tucker 2021 ZiPS projection: 151 games, 616 plate appearances, 93 runs, 27 home runs, 103 RBI, 24 stolen bases; .276/.338/.503, 8.1 BB%, 20.6 K%, .226 ISO, .348 wOBA

?      Tucker 2021 ATC projection: 148 games, 613 plate appearances, 89 runs, 28 home runs, 93 RBI, 20 stolen bases;. 260/.327/.487, 8.3 BB%, 21.6 K%, .227 ISO, .345 wOBA

Part of the variance in his counting statistics, where Tucker ends up hitting in the Astros lineup. He appeared all over the batting order in 2020 but settled in at fifth in the playoffs. If he stays in the top-five, reaching the numbers above remains attainable but hitting sixth or lower could depress his runs or RBI totals. Pay attention to this when targeting him in upcoming drafts or auctions but there's a chance he's only scratched the surface with his strong 2020, stay tuned and hope he comes closest to the ZiPS forecast.

Statistical Credits:

THE BAT X courtesy of Derek Carty

ZiPS courtesy of Dan Szymborski

ATC courtesy of Ariel Cohen