Many Braves fans have been looking forward to this day since the day his video from Driveline went viral. Yes, the video where he hit 100 MPH in a training session…in his underwear and yelled loud curse words. Now that the Tucker Davidson debut is upon us, what should we expect from the left hander?
First, it’s important to know that Tucker wasn’t much of a prospect until his offseason took a more analytical turn. Back to back years training with Driveline have increased Tucker’s fastball to elite velocity, especially from a lefty. Give credit to Tucker for taking his professional future in his own hands and seeking out a top notch program. Tucker ranked #8 in Braves Journal’s offseason rankings, but if those rankings were up to date, he’d likely be at 6, maybe even 5.
Tucker is a 4 pitch pitcher, fastball, slider, curve, and change. Anthopoulos reported that Tucker’s main focus in his final tuneups at the alt camp were adding depth to the slider and focusing on command. This is a good sign for the young lefty as that implies his plus fastball and curve were/are MLB ready. Don’t let the Driveline fastball get you too giddy, as Tucker’s in game fastball tops out at 96 (still awesome!) and sits 94. Curve is his 2nd best offering and I watched him carve up fools with it in a AA game vs. the Wahoos. While the fastball is his best pitch, the curve is on it’s tail.
The rest is anyone’s guess at the moment. The change and slider weren’t close to the curve and fastball in terms of development, but there’s apparently been some good news from the alt camp, otherwise he wouldn’t be debuting.
I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility for Tucker to pitch in the 2nd round of the playoffs, if he performs well tonight. He has the highest ceiling of any other pitchers that could slot into the 4th spot, outside of Bryse Wilson, who was great the last outing.