Tucker Flint has slowly emerged as a mainstay in the Rocket City Trash Pandas lineup. Less than a year after being drafted out of Chipola Junior College in Florida, Flint was assigned to the Rocket City Opening Night roster. Over the course of the season, he’s improved at the plate
Tucker Flint has slowly emerged as a mainstay in the Rocket City Trash Pandas lineup. Less than a year after being drafted out of Chipola Junior College in Florida, Flint was assigned to the Rocket City Opening Night roster. Over the course of the season, he’s improved at the plate and has been a force at the plate in the second half.
The 22-year-old Rhode Island native began his professional career at Low-A Inland Empire last season and skipped the High-A level entirely on his way to Rocket City. Just beginning his professional career, Flint has recently become a focal point in the heart of the Trash Pandas lineup, providing power from the left side of the plate.
In the month of August, Flint was at his best, hitting .279 with four home runs, six doubles, 20 RBI, and a .452 slugging percentage. That’s a vast improvement from May and June, when he combined to hit just .169 over 41 games. He’s likely to end the season as the Trash Pandas leader in many offensive categories including games played, doubles, and RBI. Recently, we caught up with Flint to talk about the adjustment to Double-A baseball, highlights from his season with the Trash Pandas, and motivation to reach the next level.
Q: Did you hope to make the Trash Pandas out of spring training and what was your reaction to learning you would be here?
A: My expectation probably wasn't to come here. But I did go into spring training having done a lot in the offseason to improve. I think I swung the bat well in spring training to open some eyes and maybe have the option to come here. I was expecting to go to Low-A or High-A but to be here was awesome.
Q: What was their reaction from friends and family when you told them you were going to play for the Rocket City Trash Pandas?
A: They were fired up because it was finally closer to the east coast. All of my family is on the east coast. So that was nice, but I think they get more even they got even more excited in our family group chat. They started sending all the pictures of the logo and how they love how they already loved the Trash Pandas logo and branding.
Q: At the beginning of the season, you were fighting for playing time. At what point did you realize you were comfortable and could succeed at Double-A?
A: It was a little bit of an adjustment early on just understanding how they pitch. I think in spring training, I knew the guys were super welcoming that had been here last year. I think I knew I had the ability to play here. I think it just took me a little bit longer than necessarily to get fully comfortable with my like routine and in my in-game playing.
Q: Growing up on Rhode Island, who was your favorite team and favorite player?
A: I grew up loving David Ortiz. He’s a lefty, I'm a lefty. He was just was such a good hitter for the Red Sox. Being a New England guy, I was a Red Sox fan. So, he was he was my guy.
Q: At what point did you realize baseball was going to be your path?
A: Growing up I played literally every sport; baseball, basketball, soccer, football, skiing everything. I think sophomore year of high school, I started to really focus in on baseball. And that's when I went to just playing baseball year-round. That's when I started physically growing into my body and seeing it in my play, to have a chance that maybe getting drafted and knowing that this is this is my career.
Q: What was that moment like when the Angels drafted you in the 13th round in 2022? What were you doing when you got the call?
A: The first two days of the draft came and went. We were sitting around and got a few calls that just didn't work out. Then on the third day, the Angels called early, and I was in the car driving home from the place I lift at. I was with some of my family members, and it was special. To finally get the call and know that you're going to get to play professional baseball is definitely one of the coolest moments in my life for sure.
Q: What was your welcome to pro baseball moment?
A: This year, the first time I saw a guy get called up to the show. When Zach Neto got called up, I realized we are really this close the dream of playing in MLB. And I think that was one of the coolest moments ever to be part of seeing a guy go up and knowing that I'm at the same level and hopefully following in those same footsteps.
Q: Did that change your perspective a little bit knowing you could be on the Angels tomorrow?
A: Yeah, it's insane. That was when I really started to realize like how important every day is. But yeah, it's a cool feeling to know that at any moment, you could be in Anaheim.
Q: Looking back at this season, what have been a couple personal highlights for you?
A: My favorite highlight would be the walk off I hit against Birmingham here earlier in the year on a Sunday. That was really cool. That was probably my favorite one. I think, just honestly, the other highlights are every time a guy has been called up to the majors. I think that's really cool. Seeing teammates get called up knowing you're that close to potentially being you. Those are some of the coolest moments we’ve had.
Q: What are a couple lessons you’ve learned this season?
A: There’s a little bit of an adjustment at the beginning end of the year. But I think all of the coaches, they've taught me so much with understanding how the game is played at the next level. Knowing how important your approach is on both sides of the ball. How you have to be on point every day. Going into the offseason that'll help me kind of know what's expected to reach the big leagues. That can give you something to drive towards. Now, seeing what other guys have done to go to the show, it helps me understand that’s what I have to do and how it’s done.