Cole Tucker
22-Year-Old ShortstopSS
Pittsburgh Pirates AA
2019 Fantasy Outlook
For the most part, 2018 was a rough year for Tucker at the plate, but he is still relevant for dynasty leagues. After playing 42 games at Double-A in 2017, he returned to that level for his age-21/22 season and was a below-league-average hitter (93 wRC+). However, he still profiles as the Pirates' shortstop of the future, and his plus speed and aggression on the bases would be very valuable if he is able to secure the everyday job. He was the best shortstop in the Arizona Fall League, showcasing high-end defense while hitting .370/.442/.457 with six steals on nine attempts. Despite standing 6-foot-3, Tucker struggles to generate power from his narrow lower half, and does not project to ever be a 20-homer threat. He may only be a .250 or .260 hitter with modest pop, but Tucker's wheels could lead to seasons where he steals 25-plus bases. His plus defense should allow him to overtake Kevin Newman for the job in Pittsburgh sooner than later. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed with the Pirates in June of 2014.
Contract purchased
SSPittsburgh Pirates  AA
November 20, 2018
Tucker was added to the 40-man roster by Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports.
Tucker ended the 2018 campaign at Double-A Altoona, hitting .259 with five home runs and 44 RBI. It'd be nice to see him make a little more contact moving forward, especially since he's failed to demonstrate much power throughout his minor-league career.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Cole Tucker
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James Anderson reviews the top hitters in the FSL and thinks Jorge Mateo could still finish the season as a top-10 prospect despite his June slump.
Farm Futures: Top 200 Update
June 15, 2016
James Anderson updates his top 200 prospect list with the cream of this year's draft crop, but also installs a new name in the number one spot.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
Untimely injuries have prevented Tucker from truly breaking out as a high-end prospect. After missing time in 2015 and 2016 following shoulder surgery, he missed three weeks with a broken thumb and ended the season on the shelf with a broken hand. An athletic 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, scouts keep waiting for Tucker to grow into a bit more over-the-fence power, and that could still click for him at some point in the coming years. For now, his top fantasy-relevant traits are advanced on-base skills (10.8 percent walk rate last year), aggressiveness on the bases and the fact that he has a decent chance to stick at shortstop. Despite finishing with 47 steals (on 62 attempts), Tucker is not a plus runner, so it remains to be seen how long he will continue to ride good reads and aggressive leads to impressive steal totals. It’s safer to assume he will be a 10-to-15 steal threat in the majors, so strides in the power department are critical for him to profile as more than a middle-infield option in standard leagues.
Coming off shoulder surgery, Tucker started his season in May and batted .262/.308/.443 in 67 Low-A plate appearances before an injury to fellow shortstop prospect Kevin Newman gave him a shot with High-A Bradenton. Tucker did not hit well for the Marauders. He posted a .238/.312/.301 line and appeared overmatched. The lack of any semblance of power might be expected, but he only stole five bases (in 11 attempts). He hit .293 with 25 stolen bases in Low-A two seasons ago, so there's still plenty of hope for the 20-year-old. From a fantasy perspective, however, speed appears to be the switch-hitter's primary calling card and he hasn't excelled in that aspect of the game.
The Pirates top pick in 2014, Tucker underwent shoulder surgery on his throwing arm at the end of August and was expected to miss 10-12 months. Prior to getting hurt, the shortstop slashed .293/.322/.377 in 329 PA for Low-A West Virginia, an improvement over his first rookie ball campaign — .267/.368./.356. Tucker, 19, will likely have to watch much of the action in 2016 from the bench, but he’s fortunate to have time on his side. Tucker and Kevin Newman — a shortstop pick first in the 2015 draft — will continue to compete as they progress up the organizational ladder.
One of the youngest players taken in the 2014 draft, Tucker hit .404 in his senior season and played for Team USA against Japan in the 18-and-under World Cup. He is thought to be a better player on the defensive side of the ball, but Tucker will have plenty of time to develop the rest of his talents. Tucker's Gulf Coast League debut showed some of his future skill set. He hit .267/.368/.356 in 217 plate appearances, showing decent batting average ability but with little power. The shortstop also stole 13 bases, an area that might help fantasy owners down the road. The 24th overall pick has little competition as a true shortstop inside the Pittsburgh organization.
More Fantasy News
Swats leadoff homer
SSPittsburgh Pirates  AA
September 7, 2018
Tucker went 2-for-4 with a solo home run Thursday in Double-A Altoona's 2-1 loss to Akron in Game 2 of an Eastern League semifinals series.
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Assigned to minors camp
SSPittsburgh Pirates  AA
March 12, 2018
The Pirates reassigned Tucker to their minor-league camp Monday.
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Easing into spring action
SSPittsburgh Pirates  AA
February 27, 2018
Tucker (hand) is 1-for-4 with a double in two Grapefruit League games.
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Earns spring invite
SSPittsburgh Pirates  AA
January 22, 2018
Tucker (hand) will attend big-league spring training with the Pirates as a non-roster invitee, Adam Berry of reports.
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Hopes to play in AFL this year
SSPittsburgh Pirates  AA
September 17, 2017
General manager Neal Huntington announced Sunday that the Pirates are "remaining optimistic" that Tucker (hand) will return to play in the Arizona Fall League this season, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
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