Tucker Excited for Opportunity with Pirates

“Every day brings something new and I am just trying to take it all in obviously and ultimately help us win ball games."

Noah Hiles
April 22, 2019 - 9:22 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – A great deal has taken place for Pirates rookie shortstop Cole Tucker in the last few days. Just a few weeks ago, the Pirates 2014 first round pick was playing his first game with class AAA Indianapolis.

With 2015 first round selection Kevin Newman and the newly acquired Erik Gonzalez ahead of him on the organization’s depth chart, it seemed Tucker had a bit of time ahead of him before he would make his big league debut. However, a pair of injuries and a desperate need to improve the club’s infield defense helped the 22 year-old find himself in the major leagues much earlier then many, including himself, expected.

“It’s crazy,” said Tucker. “Every day brings something new and I am just trying to take it all in obviously and ultimately help us win ball games."

“We are in a really good spot. We’re in first place and they’re running me out there at shortstop. Childhood me is somewhere freaking out right now, its so cool to be here and be able to live out my dream and soak this up with my team and family.”

Although Tucker is the new guy in the clubhouse, he is by no means a stranger. The Bucs 5th ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline came to the big leagues already having a strong relationship with numerous players on the Pirates active roster. Players like Jason Martin, Bryan Reynolds and Pablo Reyes were teammates with Tucker in the minor leagues. However, Tucker says he was able to get to know some of the other players in the club house earlier this year in spring training.

“That’s such an undervalued experience,” Tucker said. “You come here and you’re batting leadoff playing shortstop, you’re in the lineup and the game matters and it would be strange if I didn’t know these guys. If I didn’t have a relationship with (Jameson Taillon) it would be strange. If I didn’t have a relationship with (Chris) Archer it would be strange. It is a really cool thing to be up here and get to know these guys and help us win games.”

While Tucker is well liked in the clubhouse, it can be argued that he is already more beloved by the fans. In his short time with the Pirates, he has received a very notable reception from those in attendance and on social media.

For Tucker, the hype is almost too big to believe.

“Its bigger than I ever could have dreamed about,” Tucker said. “I was just on MLB network and Colin Cowherd was talking to me. My jerseys are hanging in the streets and people are wearing them and buying them. It’s a joke. I couldn’t have dreamed it any bigger than this. It surprises me every day.”

On Monday, the Pirates started a four game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the club that Tucker, who went to high school just 15 miles outside of downtown Phoenix, grew up cheering for. For him, getting to play his home town team is just another one of the many things that has made his first week in the big leagues something he will never forget.

“I’m excited. I was a Diamondbacks fan, pretty die hard, when I was younger. Looking forward to getting out there and getting after them today.”