Astros' Tucker blasts first spring homer

No. 16 overall prospect plates three; Yanks' Torres slaps double

Kyle Tucker has a career .457 slugging percentage in three pro seasons with the Astros. (Tammy Tucker/

By Staff | February 25, 2018 9:47 PM

In 2017, Kyle Tucker experienced a major power boost. Judging by his work Sunday, he hasn't slowed down yet.

The Astros' top hitting prospect drilled a three-run homer to right field to help his club top the Cardinals, 7-3, in Grapefruit League action.

After swatting nine long balls in his first full season, Tucker launched 25 jacks while tallying a career-high 90 RBIs across Class A Advanced Buies Creek and Double-A Corpus Christi. Slugging a composite .528,'s No. 16 overall prospect was named the Astros' Minor League Hitter of the Year. Tucker also earned a trip to the All-Star Futures Game, where he slapped an RBI double.

In his first Spring Training start of the year, the 21-year-old appeared to be shaking off a tough Arizona Fall League campaign. Tucker hit .214/.305/.310 with six doubles and no homers in 22 games.

Astros No. 9 prospect J.D. Davis went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

Tucker's roundtripper came on a 3-1 offering from Miles Mikolas, who was pitching in affiliated ball for the first time since 2014 with the Rangers. The Cardinals right-hander had a tough debut, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings.

Daniel Poncedeleon also made an anticipated return to the mound. Sunday marked the first time the right-hander was in a game since May 9 with Triple-A Memphis, when he was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Triple-A Iowa's Victor Caratini. Poncedeleon yielded a run on three hits and two walks with a pair of punchouts in two frames.

Andrew Knizner, St. Louis' No. 9 prospect, doubled in his only at-bat and walked.

In other spring action:

Yankees 8, Phillies 3 Box's fifth overall prospect Gleyber Torres slapped a double to left in the first and came around to score the Yankees' first run of the game. No. 48 overall prospect Justus Sheffield started off his debut with two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 third inning, but walked Phillies No. 11 prospect Roman Quinn and plunked No. 37 overall prospect J.P. Crawford before giving up a long ball to Maikel Franco. No. 35 overall prospect Scott Kingery worked a walk for the Phillies.

Pirates 8, Tigers 8 Box

Pittsburgh's lineup was chock full of young talent, starting at the top of the order with Austin Meadows. Baseball's No. 45 overall prospect legged out a three-run triple and Pirates No. 9 prospect Kevin Kramer slugged a three-run homer. Pittsburgh's fifth-ranked prospect Cole Tucker worked a walk while Kevin Newman (No. 7) singled and came around to score. Edgar Santana, the club's No. 28 prospect, fanned one in a perfect fifth. For the Tigers, No. 59 overall prospect Alex Faedo yielded a two-out inside-the-park solo shot to Alfredo Reyes and notched a strikeout in the seventh. Daz Cameron, Detroit's ninth-ranked prospect, laced an RBI single and came around to score.

Twins 5, Rays 4 Box

LaMonte Wade, Minnesota's No. 13 prospect, was the difference-maker, knocking a go-ahead double to right in the seventh in his only at-bat. Nineteenth-ranked Mitch Garver powered the club with two-run homer in the fourth while Zack Littell (No. 15) notched the save after fanning three over two perfect frames. Making his organizational debut, fourth-ranked Rays prospect Christian Arroyo went 1-for-3 with a run. Tampa Bay's No. 25 prospect, Chih-Wei Hu spun a 1-2-3 third inning in relief.

Tigers (ss) 6, Blue Jays 3 Box

Detroit's No. 5 prospect Jake Rogers ripped an RBI single while Sergio Alcantara (No. 26) added an RBI knock and a sacrifice fly. Blue Jays No. 19 prospect Jon Harris yielded an unearned run on one hit with a strikeout in the seventh.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 1 Box

Boston's No. 5 prospect, Sam Travis, walked and scored twice while Austin Hays --'s No. 23 overall prospect - tallied a free pass for Baltimore.

Mets 10, Marlins 3 Box

In his second game in the Miami system, No. 27 overall prospect Lewis Brinson stroked a single to left and got hit by a pitch. No. 71 overall prospect Monte Harrison tallied a double.

Nationals 9, Braves 3 Box

Baseball's No. 90 overall prospect Carter Kieboom and Nationals No. 12 prospect Andrew Stevenson both went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs.

Angels 2, Padres 1 Box

A day after Shohei Ohtani made his Cactus debut, No. 21 Angels prospect Luke Bard turned in his second perfect relief appearance of the weekend. After facing and retiring three Athletics on Friday, the 27-year-old righty induced two groundouts and ended his frame with a whiff Sunday. No. 10 Padres prospect Josh Naylor singled and walked, and Christian Villanueva added a knock.

Brewers 5, D-backs 1 Box

Keston Hiura, Milwaukee's top prospect and the No. 56 overall prospect, whacked a two-bagger and started a double play at second base. The 2017 first-rounder has three hits and a walk over seven Cactus League plate appearances. Mauricio Dubon, ranked 11th in the system, entered as a pinch-runner and scored. In his first outing of the spring, No. 10 Brewers prospect Freddy Peralta worked around a hit in a scoreless inning of relief. Christian Walker, the D-backs No. 25 prospect, left the yard for their only run. No. 19 Ildemaro Vargas worked a walk and No. 23 Jack Reinheimer singled.

Mariners 2, Dodgers 0 Box

Mike Ford, recent Toolshed subject and Seattle's No. 16 prospect, doubled for his first hit of the year. No. 21 Mariners prospect Rob Whalen struck out three and shook off a hit and a walk over two scoreless innings, and No. 26 Sam Moll worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save. Minor Leaguer Max Muncy had the Dodgers' only two hits -- a pair of doubles.

Indians 2, Reds (ss) 2 Box

No. 11 overall prospect Francisco Mejia delivered a single off the bench in the ninth, and No. 7 Cleveland prospect Greg Allen tripled him in to tie game. It marked Allen's second straight two-hit performance. Nick Senzel, Cincinnati's top prospect and the No. 7 prospect in the game, went 1-for-3 with a run scored in his first Cactus League game this year.

Athletics 4, Royals 4 Box

A.J. Puk, the No. 32 overall prospect, started for the A's and turned in two perfect innings, notching a strikeout and inducing four groundouts. No. 3 Oakland prospect Dustin Fowler was 1-for-2 with a walk, and No. 13 Sheldon Neuse walked twice and scored. Three Kansas City pitching prospects -- Foster Griffin (No. 10), Trevor Oaks (No. 15) and Andres Machado (No. 25) -- made scoreless appearances. No. 6 Royals prospect Nicky Lopez went 1-for-2, and No. 16 Donnie Dewees Jr. singled, walked and scored twice.

Rangers 4, Rockies 2 Box

No. 2 Texas prospect and No. 53 overall prospect Willie Calhoun went 1-for-2 with an RBI, a run and a stolen base. Seventh-ranked Rangers prospect Ronald Guzman poked a single, No. 15 Yanio Perez plated a run in a 1-for-2 showing and No. 20 Jose Trevino slugged an RBI double. Ricardo Rodriguez, No. 28 in the Texas system, earned the win after allowing a hit over a shutout frame. No. 8 Rockies prospect Garrett Hampson picked up an RBI with an infield hit, and Yonathan Daza stroked a two-bagger. Nineteenth-ranked Colorado prospect Sam Hilliard recorded an outfield assist.

White Sox 8, Reds (ss) 5 Box

Seventh-ranked Chicago prospect Zack Collins was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run, and Ryan Cordell (No. 16) and Luis Alexander Basabe (No. 17) both singled and plated a run. Jordan Stephens (No. 18), fanned three and walked one over two hitless innings. No. 82 overall prospect Jesse Winker was 1-for-3 with a run scored atop the Reds lineup, and sixth-ranked Cincinnati prospect Aristides Aquino connected for a solo homer.

Cubs 12, Giants 10 Box

Mark Zagunis, the Cubs No. 14 prospect, collected two singles and two runs. Top Giants prospect Chris Shaw doubled in a run and scored one, while No. 4 Austin Slater singled and walked. Fifth-ranked Steven Duggar went yard, plating No. 27 Ryan Howard, who was 1-for-2. Righty Jordan Johnson (No. 19) worked around two walks and picked up a strikeout in a shutout frame.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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