Florida Marlins Top 50 Prospect Countdown #45

Michael Tucker is already a major league quality 3B in the field and is showing the eagerness to improve his weakeness' at the plate. Learn more about this prospect in today's edition of the Marlins Insider's Top 50 Prospect Spotlight.

Michael Tucker
Vital Stats:
Position: 3B
DOB: November 7th, 1979
Birth Place: Lakeland, Florida
Height: 6'3 Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right Acquired: Drafted in the 14th Round (422nd Overall) of the 2001 amateur draft.

Overview: The Marlins drafted Tucker out of Florida Southern in 2001. Coming out of college there were no questions about his fielding ability, however, his bat left a lot to be desired.

Batting: When Tucker first entered into the Marlins organization he was not considered to be much of a hitter. While his hitting is still behind in his development, there have been substantial signs of improvement. Tucker's approach at the plate is very aggressive, which at this point is an indication that his batting eye is not very good because he swings at a lot of bad pitches. He has trouble with breaking pitches and hard inside fastballs. In the 2003 season Michael did show considerable improvement at the plate in his ability to make contact and even showed a bit of gap power. However, he must learn to become more cerebral in the box and work on not being fooled so often. He must learn to be more selective and make pitchers work for strikes instead of giving them away. This will help him draw more walks which is another thing he has to work on. On the positive side, the fact that every year in the system his offensive numbers have improved across the board is sign for encouragement.

Base Running and Speed: Tucker has adequate speed but not enough to be considered a serious base-stealing threat. He must also learn to make better decisions on the base paths as he can be a bit careless at times.

Defense: This is the strongest aspect of Tucker's game. In 2002 he led the Midwest League in fielding percentage by a 3B. He fields everything cleanly, has good footwork, and an above average throwing arm. Michael can also be called upon to play a little SS when necessary, but he does not have the speed or foot quickness to play there on a regular basis.

Projection: Right now, Tucker has two things that are grabbing the attention of scouts. First is his superb defensive play and second is eagerness to improve at the plate. By no means will Tucker ever develop himself into a top quality hitting prospect, but some scouts feel that if he continues to improve at the plate he could one day find himself a role on a major league team as defensive specialist utility guy. A lot of work at the plate still needs to be done for that to happen.

Estimated Time of Arrival: Tucker will most likely play another season at Class A Jupiter in the Florida State League. If he shows further improvement at the plate he could earn a mid-season promotion to Double A Carolina. Best case scenario for Tucker to earn a shot at making a major league roster will be an invite to spring training in 2006. But it will take a substantial amount of improvement at the plate for that to happen. But scouts are keeping an eye on him. His glove is that special.

Statistics:

Year

Team

AVG

R

HR

RBI

2B

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2003

Jupiter

.276

36

5

51

22

2

32

92

.342

.381



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