Tucker takes Express train to breakout

Astros No. 2 prospect homers, doubles and delivers six RBIs

Kyle Tucker has six home runs and 15 RBIs for Triple-A Round Rock this season. (Round Rock Express)

By Brian Stultz / MiLB.com | May 3, 2019 1:49 AM

Kyle Tucker turned into a RBI machine just when Round Rock needed it.

The second-ranked Astros prospect homered and doubled on a three-hit, six-RBI night and scored twice as the Triple-A Express defeated the Dodgers, 10-4, in 10 innings at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Tucker fell one RBI short of the career best he set with Class A Advanced Buies Creek on April 15, 2017, and more than doubled his single-game high this season.

Video: Tucker clears the fences for Express

It was the type of game Round Rock hitting coach Ben Rosenthal knows is possible any night.

"It's what we all know he is capable of on a regular basis," he said.

After grounding out in the second inning, Tucker smacked a single to right field in the fourth off right-hander Logan Bawcom, scoring Astros No. 3 prospect Yordan Alvarez to cut the Dodgers lead to 3-2. 

Gameday box score

Down 0-2 to righty Louis Head in the seventh, MLB.com's seventh-ranked overall prospect pounced on the next pitch, hitting a two-run homer to right-center to tie the game. The power Tucker was able to unleash on the ball despite the count caught Rosenthal's eye.

"It's definitely impressive, especially when he keeps it simple and squares up a plus fastball," he said. "Seeing him settle in and not try to do too much in that situation is a good sign."

Following a flyout in the ninth, Tucker broke the game open in the 10th, striking a three-RBI double to left to give the Express a 9-4 cushion. He crossed the plate on a single to center by Nick Tanielu

The fifth overall pick in 2015 appeared in 28 games at the big league level last season, collecting nine hits, 10 runs and four RBIs for Houston. Tucker has six home runs, five doubles, 15 RBIs, 14 runs while batting .191 in 24 games this season.

Despite the lower numbers, Rosenthal has tried to help Tucker keep his head held high and the focus on being himself.

2019 MiLB include

"I think being able to show him some deeper metrics that confirm he is/was doing what he needs to do and to stick with it, we're good for him to show up to the yard confident every day," he said.

An ingredient to the perceived slow start? Trying too hard at the plate.

"...The adjustment he made tonight and needs to continue with is swinging at his pitches," Rosenthal said. "Sometimes things don't go a player's way and then they will try to make things happen instead of being stingy and only attacking their pitches. He did a great job with keeping it simple with pitches he could handle. If he continues with that, we should see more of the Tuck we saw tonight."

Alvarez also racked up three hits -- including two doubles. He scored twice and drove in a run. No. 16 prospect Myles Straw tripled, singled, scored twice and drove in a run.

Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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