ANAHEIM -- The Astros don't have to reach far back in their memory bank to remember the last time a top prospect struggled in his Major League debut. Alex Bregman went 1-for-32 upon reaching the Majors in 2016 before turning into a World Series hero in '17 and Most Valuable Player in this year's All-Star Game with a 10th-inning homer.
Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker, who was taken No. 5 overall in the 2015 MLB Draft (three picks after Bregman), was off to a 4-for-31 start in his Major League career entering Saturday's game. Tucker made his debut July 7 and at 21 years old is the youngest active player in the American League. He's the No. 8-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline.
"He's having an adjustment period to this level," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "He's done this at every level. He did it in A ball, he did it in Double-A, he did it in Triple-A and now in the big leagues. He's learning on the fly. They're positioning him very well and the balls he's hitting hard, he's hitting into the defense. He hasn't gotten the ball in the air as much as he's going to, and that will help him once he does that. He's seeing all these guys for the first time. It's a good reminder that it's a tough league."
Tucker showed signs of adjusting in his first at-bat of Saturday's 7-0 victory over the Angels, notching a single for the Astros' first hit off Nick Tropeano and later scoring on Yuli Gurriel's sacrifice fly. He finished the game 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
Hinch reminisced about Michael Trout's first month in the big leagues, which wasn't smooth sailing, either. He went 7-for-43 when he made his debut in 2011 with the Angels and won AL Rookie of the Year the following season.
"This happens," Hinch said. "Trout had to be sent back down and he seemed to work out all right. Kyle needs to continue to adjust and try to contribute and play defense."