Kyle Tucker is making an early and lasting impression on new fans of the Buies Creek Astros. But they might not want to get too attached to the 20-year-old, because performances like the one he had Saturday may shorten his stay in the Class A Advanced Carolina League.
Tucker set a career high with seven RBIs -- all in the first three innings -- as he went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a homer in a 13-6 win over Winston-Salem at BB&T Ballpark. The Astros' second-ranked prospect was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, but settled for the second four-hit game of his career.
"Everyone was hitting everything tonight," he said. "The whole lineup got at it in the first and just kept going at it. We stayed aggressive and rolled with it. The hits kept falling and obviously it was a great night offensively."
Buies Creek tallied 12 runs in the first three frames and Tucker was responsible for most of them. The native of Tampa, Florida, opened the scoring with an RBI double to right in the first that scored No. 27 prospect Jason Martin. He swiped his second base of the season and scored on Dexture McCall's single to left.
With the bases loaded in the second, Tucker cleared them with a double to center before scoring on double by Ryne Birk. He continued the onslaught in the third with his second homer of the season, a three-run shot to right-center field that made at 12-0.
Video: Buies Creek's Kyle Tucker blasts three-run homer
"You look for good pitches," said the 2015 first-round pick. "You can't be too picky or take too many strikes and be too passive. You want to get ahead and look for pitches out over the plate and that was what I was doing tonight. That first inning we put up a few runs but could have had more. We got going again the next inning and kept rolling from there."
Tucker singled to left in the seventh for his first four-hit game since Aug. 31 with Lancaster of the Class A Advanced California League.
Video: Buies Creek's Tucker notches fourth hit
"I was in the flow of the game for sure, but it's hard not to see what you're doing when you look at the scoreboard," he said. "In the first three innings we had 12 runs, so when you have that type of start, you want to let it ride as long as you can.
"You can't be overaggressive in games in like this. If you start trying to hit a homer or take monster hacks, it won't do you any good. You need to just stay within yourself. My swing feels good and I'll just try and keep it going from here."
Tucker enjoyed a strong first full year as a pro in 2016, batting .285/.360/.438 with 41 extra-base hits, 69 RBIs and 32 stolen bases in 117 games with Class A Quad Cities and Lancaster.
"Last year there were a few things that clicked towards the end of the year for me," the 6-foot-4 outfielder said. "I tried to go into the offseason with that same mindset and take it into this year as well. So far, so good. I've closed down my strike zone a bit and I'm not chasing too many balls right now. It's mostly little things like that."
The Tucker family is no stranger to professional baseball or noteworthy performances. Preston Tucker, Kyle's older brother, also plays in the Astros' organization and is a veteran of 146 Major League games. The 26-year-old had an offensive outburst for Triple-A Fresno on June 30 when he went 5-for-6 with three homers and eight RBIs against Salt Lake.
Martin had two singles, a walk and scored three runs for Buies Creek. Yoanys Quiala (2-0) allowed four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six scoreless frames. The 23-year-old has not given up a run in his first two starts while striking out 13 in 10 innings.
White Sox No. 8 prospect Luis Alexander Basabe and No. 14 Alex Call each drove in two runs for the Dash.