Astros' Tucker an All-Star on the field and as team DJ

July 10th, 2023

HOUSTON -- The role of DJ in a Major League clubhouse isn’t one to be taken lightly. After all, that’s the player in charge of setting the right mood before games and making sure the music is pumping at the appropriate level after his team wins a game.

For years, it was George Springer who filled the Astros' clubhouse with sound, turning it into “Club Astros,” complete with smoke and strobe lights. Alex Bregman took it from there, but when he left the same song playing on repeat for an hour, his DJ days were done. Enter , who hooked up his iPad, let the music flow and never looked back.

“He got everything,” rookie outfielder Corey Julks said. “He’s got the rap, got the alternative a little bit. He definitely has a nice little playlist. I like Tuck DJing.”

Tucker, the once-shy, former scrawny outfielder who teammates ribbed for the comparisons to Ted Williams in 2015 when he was drafted with the fifth pick in the MLB Draft, has emerged as a star and one of the faces of the Astros. They don’t let just anybody control the music in the clubhouse.

“Sometimes I’ll just do a search on a rap-heavy type thing, whatever pops up, and just hit shuffle,” Tucker said. “Sometimes it’s some medium stuff. Day games, I’ll do country. So I’ll either have my own playlist or I’ll go on the search page and find some stuff.”

Tucker was selected to play in his second All-Star Game this year as an injury replacement for the American League. He’ll be joined in Seattle next week by two teammates, pitcher Framber Valdez and outfielder Yordan Alvarez, and the entire Houston coaching staff, led by manager Dusty Baker.

“It’s an honor to be an All-Star,” Tucker said. “You never know if you’re going to make an All-Star team in this game or whether you’re going to get another one. So any time you’re able to have that opportunity is awesome and be able to go and hang out with the guys and everything is pretty special.”

Tucker’s ascent to clubhouse DJ probably wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t ascended on the field. Last year, he hit .257 with 28 doubles, 30 homers, 107 RBIs, 25 stolen bases and was a Gold Glove for his defense. He became the first Astros outfielder to reach 30 homers in back-to-back seasons since Lance Berkman in 2001-02. He homered in his first two plate appearances in the Game 1 of the World Series against the Phillies.

The biggest moment of his career came in Game 6 of the World Series, when he caught the final out to clinch the Astros’ World Series victory over the Phillies.

“Running over there, I was just hoping that it wasn't like over the netting or something so I could catch it, because as soon as ball goes up, you know potentially it could be the last out,” Tucker said. “Afterwards just a celebration … I mean, there's so much hard work and it's such a long season to achieve something like that, have it all pay off, it's pretty cool.”

Tucker played on the U.S. team that finished second in the World Baseball Classic this spring, though he missed the final two games with a sprained ankle. He got off to a slow start this season but is a growing force in Houston’s lineup. He entered Friday hitting. 293 with 13 homers, 55 RBIs and a .845 OPS.

“I think he’s done a phenomenal job making adjustments, putting in consistent hard work every day and becoming the player he was hyped up to be coming here,” said veteran outfielder Michael Brantley, who was one of Tucker’s mentors. “Just seeing the quality of work from the inside that he does every day to get ready to perform at a very high level.”

The numbers he’s put up have been crucial to an Astros team that has been without Alvarez for the last month because of an oblique injury and star second baseman Jose Altuve, who has played in just 32 games this year because of a fractured thumb suffered in the WBC and an oblique injury that currently has him on the IL.

“He’s been incredible for us over the last few years and each year I feel like he continually improves and finds ways to get better,” Bregman said.