Family ties: Astros draft OF Tucker at No. 5
High school outfielder, lefty swinger, brother of Houston left fielder Preston
HOUSTON -- While he was waiting out a rain delay in Chicago on Monday, Astros outfielder Preston Tucker got to make one of the most gratifying calls of his life when he phoned younger brother Kyle. Preston congratulated him for being drafted by the Astros, telling him how proud he was of him.
"Having my brother in the organization kind of made me feel like a little more comfortable, because I've been around their Minor League system, and I already know some people in the front office, and I feel pretty comfortable with them," said Kyle Tucker, an outfielder at Plant High School in Tampa, Fla., drafted fifth overall.
Astros scouting director Mike Elias said the family bloodlines are something that can't be underestimated, and Tucker's proximity to the Astros' Spring Training facility in Kissimmee, Fla., allowed general manager Jeff Luhnow to entertain the Tucker family at a Grapefruit League game.
"It was certainly a factor knowing what type of player and person his brother was and getting to know their family through having him in our organization and [scout John Martin's] relationship with the Tuckers," Elias said. "Seeing the success Preston's had not only made us feel even more comfortable with the high school hitter, but I think it did so for the rest of the industry as well. It was definitely somewhat of a factor. Even in his own right, he's a Top 5 prospect. It really was just icing on the cake for us."
The Astros selected LSU shortstop Alex Bregman with the No. 2 overall pick. The No. 5 pick comes with a $4,188,700 signing-bonus value. Tucker is committed to Florida, where his brother played before being drafted by Houston in the seventh round in 2012.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at noon.
Kyle Tucker, 18, was named the Gatorade Florida Baseball Player of the Year after hitting .484 with 10 home runs, 27 RBIs and 29 runs scored in his senior year at Plant High School. A left-handed-hitting outfielder who stands 6-foot-4, Tucker possesses similar talents as his brother and a strong makeup.
"I've known Kyle for a long time with his brother, Preston, and he's a five-tool player across the board," Martin said. "He's going to hit and hit with power -- and the makeup, like Jeff said, is on the top of the charts, as is his brother's. It's a good family and good mother and father situation. The kid's just got all the intangibles and tools that we look for."
Luhnow said his visit with the Tucker family during Spring Training allowed him to ask every conceivable question he could think of about Kyle and his relationship with his brother, his grades and what he did to prepare to be a baseball player.
"I really felt that was an invaluable investment in time," Luhnow said. "There's a lot of brothers that haven't worked out as big leaguers, but I believe this is a combination that's going to be on the positive side of our ledger."
Kyle said he's never had a chance to play with his brother because of the age difference, but he hopes to soon stand alongside him in the Major Leagues.
"We have some similarities," Kyle said. "We don't strike out very much; we put the ball in play. He has a little bit more power because he's a little bit bigger and stronger. We have kind of similar approaches to the game and in the box. Of course, there's differences between players, but I kind of model myself after him because I get to see him on and off the field. I related my game as much as I can to him and his success."