The first-place Pirates are looking to their Minor League system for reinforcements.
Pittsburgh called up its fifth-ranked prospect Cole Tucker and eighth-ranked Bryan Reynolds to the big leagues Saturday, marking the first Major League promotion for both players.
The Pirates selected Tucker with the 24th overall pick in the 2014 Draft out of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, Arizona. The 22-year-old mostly experienced success, despite battling a torn labrum in 2015 and a broken thumb two years later, through his first three-plus seasons in the Minors before a somewhat down year in 2018 with Double-A Altoona. During his first full season in the Eastern League, Tucker batted .259 with a .689 OPS and five home runs.
Video: Indianapolis' Tucker makes diving stop
He found his groove again close to home after the 2018 campaign in the Arizona Fall League. There, Tucker finished third in batting average (.370) and hit for an .899 OPS with 11 RBIs, 12 walks and six stolen bases. The switch-hitter carried over that success to the beginning of this season. Tucker was 19-for-57 over the first 13 games of 2019 with three jacks, seven RBIs and a .994 OPS.
"He's a big, long lanky, athletic kid. ... He's just now starting to control those long levers better and they're going to sync up better, and you just see it in the quality of his at-bats," Pirates director of player development Larry Broadway told MiLB.com in December. "I think [he's] just a complete player. ... He just continues to grow and take the challenges as they come, and he's never really phased by anything.
"He's been really fun to watch grow."
2019 MiLB include
Pittsburgh acquired Reynolds as the centerpiece in the trade that sent Andrew McCutchen to the Giants on Jan. 15, 2018. A broken hamate bone in his left hand cost the Vanderbilt product's seven weeks of last season, but he still managed to bat .302/.381/.438 for the Curve with seven long balls, 46 RBIs and 56 runs scored in 88 games.
"The quality of the at-bats and the quality for the contact he was making, managing at-bats and doing some damage, he really did a nice job," Broadway said.
Now, the 24-year-old is making his Major League debut -- batting fifth and playing center field -- against the team that drafted him. Tucker is leading off and will handle shortstop duties.