Its been one heck of a year for Preston Tucker!
The former Gator All-American was called up to the Major Leagues this past May after playing four years in Triple-A and the minor leagues. The Houston Astros acquired the left fielder on May 6 following the concussion of right fielder, George Springer. A mere 15 days later Tucker smashed his first major league home run against the Detroit Tigers. The Tampa native still remembers the day he got his shot just like it was yesterday and says “It was an unforgettable feeling”.
Tucker’s life all changed at the crack of a bat. The lefty came in and made an immediate impact for the Astros hitting .243 with 13 home runs and 33 RBIs in his debut season. 2015 turned out to be a great year for the Astros as well with Tucker on the roster, as the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2005. The Astros won the Wild Card defeating the New York Yankees before eventually losing to the 2015 World Series champion, Kansas City Royals. Although the season didn’t end the way he wanted Tucker enjoyed every minute of Astros’ post season run and says it was a cool experience playing in front of fans at Minute Maid Park.
Tucker was a standout for the Gators during his collegiate career from 2009-2012 appearing in three consecutive NCAA College World Series (2010-12) and winning back-to-back SEC Championships (2010-11). He garnered accolades in the orange and blue that included National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Freshman Hitter of the Year Award, SEC Freshman of the Year, and made four Regional All- Tournament teams. Tucker is the only player in UF history to ever win the Most Outstanding Player recognition twice (2009 & 2011). He also left Gainesville as UF’s all-time leader in games played (265), games started (259), at bats (1,035), total bases (596), hits (341), doubles (70), and RBIs (258).
Yet no matter where he goes or how successful he becomes Tucker continues to accredit his success to his time with the Gators and says the stiff competition he faced while at Florida prepared him well for the Major Leagues.
One thing is for sure, Preston Tucker’s time has come and he plans on sticking around for a while.