Discussions are continuing between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association about the exact number of rounds and bonus pool for the upcoming domestic amateur draft. While those talks go back and forth, more players are being linked to the Yankees and their 28th overall pick. MLB Pipeline released a mock draft last week, and they tied the Yankees to Arizona high school shortstop Carson Tucker.
Tucker’s older brother, Cole was a first round pick in 2014 and made his major league debut with the Pirates this past season. The older Tucker has consistently been one of Pittsburgh’s top prospects since being drafted. Carson uses his brother’s professional success as motivation, saying that “I want to do everything better than him.”
While younger brother Carson is not exactly the same player as Cole, he is an outstanding draft prospect in his own right. It comes as a bit of a surprise to see Tucker in the first round, though, as he is ranked 52nd by MLB Pipeline and even lower at 62 by Baseball America. If those rankings sound familiar, they are pretty much exactly where the Yankees 2019 first round pick Anthony Volpe was ranked last season when he was ranked 53rd and 62nd by those two organizations.
In fact, reading Tucker’s scouting reports feels a lot like reading Volpe’s from a year ago. No outstanding tools, but solid across the board. He has enough athleticism and a strong enough arm to stick at shortstop all the way to the majors. The term “steady ballplayer” is used to describe both young players.
Carson is known to have very good bat control and scouts are confident that he will continue to hit as he climbs through the minor leagues. Coming out of Arizona, he was already into his season when high school baseball was shut down by the pandemic. The results from that short sample size were very promising, as he reportedly played very well and showed scouts more than they were expecting.
Tucker is a player on the rise this spring due to his early season performance. One of the reasons for his improvement is his physical tools. Tucker has grown several inches since last season, and is now standing 6 feet 2 inches. He has also improved his run times, strengthening another dimension of his game.
Always known for having good bat speed, Tucker improved his swing mechanics over the offseason as well. He currently has a line-drive swing that he can spray to all fields. With the taller frame that scouts saw this spring, they now see a player who can hit for at least average power as he gets stronger down the road.
The Yankees have invested heavily at the shortstop position over the last two years, bringing in highly regarded amateurs such as the previously mentioned Anthony Volpe, Josh Smith and Alexander Vargas. They have also seen Oswald Peraza take a major step forward, and become one of the organizations top-10 prospects.
Tucker is committed to the University of Texas at Austin, a college powerhouse that routinely sees players get drafted high in the draft. With a brother who was the 24th overall pick in 2014, Tucker and his family are very familiar with the draft process and what he is looking for from a team. Tucker has said that he will bypass college if his draft spot and bonus offer are high enough to justify that decision.
Based on the rankings it would be a reach for the Yankees to take Carson Tucker with the 28th overall pick in the draft. The Yankees have fallen in love with players of his caliber and profile in the past though, and MLB Pipeline believes they will go down that path again. The Yankees may look to double down on their acquisition of shortstop and take this player with their first pick.