All Signs Point To Kyle Tucker (Maybe)
It’s been a kind of Magic Eight Ball draft season for the Phillies, who pick number 10 tonight. We heard Vanderbilt RHP Walker Buehler’s name at that pick a couple times, mostly a couple weeks ago now, and that’s tapered off as his stock slips a little into the mid-teens. We’ve more recently been hearing the Phils like Tyler Stevenson, a catcher from Kennesaw Mountain HS in Georgia, or maybe a college bat (Cincinnati 2B/CF Ian Happ has been mentioned, and Scout.com still has him as The Phils pick as of their last mock). But the rumblings started last night when FanGraphs Kiley McDaniel (@KileyMcD) tweeted that several lower names could be picked in the Top 10 based on signability issues.
Teams making signability calls on backup/underslot options. I'm told Kevin Newman, Ke'Bryan Hayes & Trenton Clark could go in top 10 as such
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) June 8, 2015
Then this morning, for the first time, we have mock drafts with a player from the seven or eight guys at the top of most boards available when the Phils pick tonight. That someone is Kyle Tucker. BA’s John Manuel and MLB.com‘s Jon Mayo and Jim Callis all have the Plant HS (FL) OF falling to the Phils. For the record, I would be totally fine with that turn of events. (FYI – McDaniel has yet to release his final mock, though follow him on Twitter and I’m sure you’ll hear about it this afternoon, and since publishing this post, Keith Law put his Insider Mock up at ESPN with Tucker the pick as well).
The lefty hitting Tucker projects as a middle of the order hitter with good power and a candidate to stay in center field, though scouts believe his arm would eventually play in right if he doesn’t stick up the middle. He has good bloodlines, which this high in the draft matter less to me, but his brother Preston is a current big leaguer with Houston, after being picked in the 7th round out of U of Florida in 2012, and eventually mashing in just over 100 PAs at AAA this year. Kyle broke many of Preston’s high school hitting records in his time at Plant HS, (I’ll admit this proves very little out of context), and scouts clearly think the younger of the two has a chance to be something special.
Last year this time, I was resigned to the fact that the pick was going to be Aaron Nola, and shortly after the draft I came around on the pick. (I was hoping Nola would go earlier somehow and leave the Phils with a choice of a couple guys I liked more, namely the then-recently-Tommy-Johned Jeff Hoffman, which I admit was a long shot, or high school high ceiling pitcher Touki Toussaint, which probably was fueled in part by his nifty monicker, or even U of Hartford Lefty Sean Newcomb). This year, I had been resigned to not knowing who the club would pick, but this little bit of consensus has me intrigued, and Tucker would be a very strong pick at #10.
The first two rounds of the draft go down tonight, starting at 7pm EST, and are available via MLB Network or streaming on MLB.com.