The Rode Show: Kyle Tucker Gets His Pitch



By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

For the second time this week, after seeing IMG Academy, FL, play, I jumped in the car and shot up to Tampa to see Plant HS. I was much more crunched for time on Thursday and arrived in the bottom of the second—just in time to see OF Kyle Tucker draw an intentional walk. But everything turned out all right in the end.

RHP Jacob Woodford was on the mound for Plant and the Florida recruit has been a high follow for scouts this spring. Woodford missed much of 2014 with an injury so he didn’t make the usual tour with the rest of the prospects in his class. He has a big, strong frame with a strong lower half and big, broad shoulders. He looks like he’ll be able to handle a load of innings down the road and he has the stuff to do it too. His fastball sat mostly 88-91 mph, touching 92, but it has very good life and hitters have a hard time making good contact. I saw him throw four innings and he induced six groundouts, plus a groundball that turned into an error. In six innings pitched, allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit, two walks and a hit batter while striking out four. He mixed in a slider that was inconsistent, but flashed short, tight break at 78-80 and a low-80s changeup. He also threw a pitch at 83 mph that looked like a slider or cutter, but he didn’t throw it again so it was difficult to decipher what it was exactly.

Woodford lost his control a little in the fifth, walking a couple batters, but was able to strand them with a lineout and groundout.

Once again, Tucker had a lackluster night until his last at-bat. He grounded out on the first pitch he saw in his first trip to the plate, drew the intentional walk and then struck out when he expanded the zone on a couple swings in his third at-bat. In his fourth at-bat, he jumped all over a pitch with an easy swing and launched it to right-center field. This one didn’t get caught up in the wind and left the yard for a three-run home run, giving Plant some insurance and an 8-2 lead. In the two games I saw this week, Tucker looks to be anxious at the plate as he isn’t getting much to hit and has made some bad swings on balls out of the zone, but when he’s right, the swing is easy and loose and the ball jumps off his barrel.

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