After hitting .405/.479/.619 in 49 PA in spring training, 21-year-old Tucupita Marcano was a surprise addition to the Padres 26-man roster. In the first seven days of the regular season, Marcano had one plate appearance per game, where he cumulatively drew one walk and hit one single.
Those two sentences tell you everything you need to know about Marcano in 2021. Let’s elaborate…
- Born: September 16, 1991
- B/T: Left/Right
- 6’0″, 170-lbs
- Signed by the San Diego Padres in 2016 out of Venezuela. Traded to Pittsburgh.
His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:
As an 18-year-old playing in North America for the first time in 2018, he had almost double the walks as he had strikeouts, while swiping 15 bags. Fantastic bat control, no power, but just 18.
As a 19-year-old in A-ball, he continued not striking out, though his walk rate was cut almost in half as pitchers realized he had no power. Got his 15 bags again, though at half the rate.
Still, you can see the reputation Marcano built up amongst prospect hounds: can’t strike the guy out, but he has no power, so what’s the point?
Then came spring training 2021. Still didn’t strike out that much, still drew a few walks, but suddenly he has power aplenty! In 49 plate appearances, he had four doubles, a triple and a home run! Is this his 21-year-old self coming into his power? At 6’0″ and only 170 pounds, he doesn’t seem to be that physically intimidating, yet there it was. And he made the team.
So why didn’t he parlay that great spring training into regular playing time? Because of who is ahead of him on the depth chart. Barring a series of injuries, Marcano is going to be a utility bat for the Padres.
He bats left, and he hit lefties just great in Class-A, righties not as well, but hardly hopelessly. Still, this is something to keep an eye on.
His career OPS average is around .700, so let’s not get too carried away. He did have a good 2018 where he burst onto the prospect scene. Let’s see if his spring power carries over into the majors, or was simply a case of him beating up on young pitching in spring training ABs.
- Rotowire: #195 on their Top 400.
- BaseballHQ: Not on their Top 100.
- Fangraphs: Not on their Top 133.
- Fantasy Six Pack: #959 on their dynasty list.
- Imaginary Brick Wall: #350 on the Top 473.
- Fantrax: Not on their Top 250.
Will his new-found power stick?
Where will he play barring injuries or a trade?
Marcano is the kind of guy prospect hounds like. It can be hard to teach bat control, while power can increase as a player’s body grows into its adult shape. We already know Marcano can discern balls from strikes, and we know once he gets on he can steal a base or two. The key to his success is shown in the Warnings section.
If he can solidify his power, and if he can get regular playing time, he could be a great bat to roster.
If his power doesn’t develop against major league pitchers, or if he remains a utility bat, he would be of far less interest.
He’s no Top 100 guy yet, but he’s on our radars now that he’s in the big leagues.