NERDS AROUND TOWN

The nerd report: DC streaming, esports, Sri Lanka

ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio, Sports and Wrestling. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

Hey Nerds!

It's a brand new week and we're in the business of crushing it, so lets get this Monday going… wait, what? A lot of you are off? That's weird, alright, lets kill it anyway!

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

Honestly this week, with so much going on in the world and so many places needing help and in light of the world raising a billion dollars in seemingly one day to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral but Puerto Rico still being ruined, the Midwest still being flooded, and there being so many places around town in need of some funds to help people. Just find a good cause this week, find something worth while, find someone to help and just give a little. Give a little of your time and of your money and of your energy to make the world a slightly better place.

AS THE WORLD TURNS

As the world turns episode two hundred featuring the DC Streaming app, now the story about the Swamp Thing show getting cut short has nothing to do with budgets or app performances or streaming numbers. Now the story coming out is that there were creative differences with the showrunners (even though all the actors and writers had no clue what was going on when the show shut down with several of them making social media posts to that fact). If this is truly the case, then the line up for the rest of the streaming service is safe, the animated Young Justice second half of the season is still coming and the animated Harley Quinn and the live action Stargirl are all still on schedule allegedly. Another weird thing about this possibly being true is that this would be the second comic book show firing its show runners in just one month and Disney just bailed on a major budget animated Mouse Guard movie Fox films was literally weeks away from starting production on so in one month several big budget comic book projects are in jeopardy all while Disney is set to launch a streaming service with several big budget star wars and comic book properties and Avengers is set to debut at record breaking numbers. Which to me actually suggests comic book movies as a genre have stabilized and become another normal like comedies and action movies with studios passing and cancelling and investing and casting and moving on for business reasons, they're no longer "event movies" they're now the new normal.

DRY LANDS IS NOT A MYTH

This story is so incredible I have to write about it, I'm about to introduce you to the concept of Seasteading. Seasteading is the idea of building self-sustaining floating mini cities that are built in international waters ideally outside the sphere of influence of any particular nation and then are supposed to be self-governed. They aren't just a sci-fi high society concept as one largish such colony is currently being negotiated and built off the French Polynesian coast and one such test structure was built allegedly 13 miles off the coast of Thailand. Why do I say allegedly? Because the couple that lived on their 6 square meter little ocean shack, were making posts to social media explaining their plan, including being in international waters and free of Thailand's interference which made Thailand so angry they sent police out to arrest them for immigration crimes which could result in life in prison or even a death sentence. The two are now fugitives but don't worry, in a move that gets filed under "never learning a lesson" the guy is still somehow posting to Facebook assuring everyone he's fine. Like I said, this news story is crazy.

A LITTLE OVERWATCH TALK

The Houston Outlaws lost both of their matches this weekend, making them 3-6 for this season and meaning that other than the first phase of Season 1, remember each season is in four phases, The Outlaws haven't posted a winning record. In their second match of this weekend they actually got swept 3-0 and in their final game of that match they at one point were in a position to force overtime and extend match play and perhaps even start a rally and fell short in a game of "escort" where one team has to fight and push a cart through the map and the other team obviously wants to prevent you from succeeding. After getting the cart through most of the map they get to what you would essentially call the redzone if you were mixing sports and made an unnecessary change to their lineup which resulted in them losing all momentum and then losing the game and the match in a sweep. They then on twitter posted a graphic depicting the 0-3 final score of a loss on their own page! I got upset at this, its one thing to make silly mistakes, but it's a whole other thing to celebrate losing, they represent Houston, they better get it figured out.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

So stay with me, I'm going to rant a little bit here. Yesterday in Sri Lanka there was a terrorist bombing in a church and there aren't a ton of details as I write this as to who is responsible but honestly, I don't care. I'm tired. I'm just absolutely exhausted with all of this, there are different religions in the world and some people believe so strongly that it leads them to violence and before anyone takes this to mean I'm siding with any one group, I'm not. There are bad apples on all sides and no one wants to admit it, White America hates the fact that nearly all domestic terrorists are white guys and they say stuff like "well white people are the majority so it makes sense" ok but it really doesn't make sense. Because as one group accuses another group what no one is doing is just taking blame for their own issues, owning their own screw ups and walking away. Each side of all of these conflicts keep trying to step up the rhetoric and step up the energy and blame the other side but the truth is really a lot simpler than anyone wants to hear. It is all of our faults. Everyone who doesn't correct people when they speak ignorantly of other groups, every time we let someone walk away from a situation angry and blaming everyone but themselves for their own issues. When we say it's everyone else's fault for the world we're living in but we're not doing anything about it then we are the problem. I try to spread good thoughts and words, I try to stay positive and keep positive vibes in the world, I want to be a good example (maybe not a great example, but a good one) to my nephews and niece. Someone my parents will be proud of and someone my friends can count on, and I make mistakes, I have my moments and these last few years have been so rough and so complicated that sometimes you do just want to lash out. But it was a church. It was Easter and the people of Sri Lanka have finally begun to enjoy piece after so long being a war torn and dangerous place, they were women and children. Men and sons, all just looking to worship in peace and spread a little positive energy to the world and as a world and community we've all let them down. Let's try to be better, just a little bit better because the truth about all of this is one day it's going to be us in a church or a mall or a school and then we will have no one to blame again but ourselves.

I'm going to jump out and wish you guys a great Monday and remind everyone to be kind to each other and try a little harder to have a great day! I'm coming back Wednesday and we'll be bringing more good times your way. Feel free to check out my digital short story The Wilson House or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where every shirt is now under $20 or listen to Nerd Thug Radio or support our Patreon Page. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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Tucker looks like the real deal. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Kyle Tucker finally had his breakout season in 2020. The 23-year-old flashed potential to be a legitimate five-tool threat. He slashed .268/.325/.512, swiped eight bags, and played above average defense. Is Tucker's performance sustainable? Not only that, but is there room for growth?

Hard Hit % - 44.5%

Barrel % - 9.1%

K % - 20.2%

BB % - 7.9%
Chase % - 26.2%

The first thing to realize with Kyle Tucker is the small sample size at the MLB level. Despite appearing in three separate seasons, he's played in a total of 108 games, which is obviously quite a bit shy of even one full season. He also has an extremely unique swing that you wouldn't teach to anybody, but it "works" for him. This makes him a tough hitter to judge, as it's uncomfortable judging mechanics that work for him, and it's uncomfortable judging numbers that haven't had time to develop trends.

Hard Hit, Barrel, and Chase numbers are unavailable for the minors, but walk and strikeouts percentages are. This creates the ability to at least look at one trend.

Tucker broke onto the scene in 2018 with a monstrous season for AAA Fresno, the Astros affiliate at the time. In 2018, Tucker slashed .332/.400/.590 with 24 homers and 20 steals. He had an 18.1% K% and a 10.3% BB% that season. In 2019, Tucker struck out a little bit more (21.6%) but also walked a little bit more (11.2%). Tucker's 20.2% K% in 2020 is more in line with his minor league K%, indicating he's adjusted to major league pitching.

Tucker essentially put the pieces of contact ability and quality of contact from his previous MLB stints together in 2020. In 2018, Tucker didn't strike out very much (18.1% K%), but his 3.9% Barrel % didn't strike fear in any opponent.

In 2019, Tucker had a 12.8% Barrel %, and his 92 MPH average exit velocity is the best of his three seasons in MLB, but he struck out 27.8% of the time and walked just 5.6% of the time.

In 2020, there's a marriage between the two. His K% and BB% aren't as good as his 2018 marks, but they're better than his 2019 marks. His exit velocity and Barrel % aren't as good as his 2019 marks, but they're better than his 2018 marks. Tucker became a hitter that was able to do more damage without sacrificing consistency.

Tucker had a xBA of .267, which is right in line with his .268 average. His .459 xSLG lags behind his .512 actual SLG, but it isn't a catastrophic drop. The version of Tucker Astros fans saw is essentially who he is, but how does he improve?

What really unlocked Tucker in 2020 was a change in his setup.

Image via: GraysonSkweres/Twitter/Screenshot

Here he is on August 2nd against the Angels. As you can see, he's standing pretty straight up, and he has a "neutral" stance. Following the game on Aug. 2, Tucker was batting .200/.250/.300 with no homers.

Image via: GraysonSkweres/Twitter/Screenshot

Here's Tucker on August 6th, just a few days later. He's started to close off his stance just a bit, but he's still pretty neutral, and he has a little more forward body lean with his torso. Following the game on Aug. 6, he was batting .214/.267/.357 with a homer.

Image via: GraysonSkweres/Twitter/Screenshot

Now, here's Tucker on August 10th. His stance is considerably closed off, and he's maintaining the forward body lean he adopted on August 6th. Following the game on Aug. 10, Tucker was batting .190/.230/.328. It would be the last time any of those numbers would be that low the rest of the year. He maintained that stance for the rest of the season, and he finished the month of August hitting .272/.333/.588.

The swing change allowed him to be a factor on the outside pitch. Tucker would pull off on his front side, which made it tough for him to keep balls fair on the pull side. He'd often yank inside fastballs into the stands down the right field line. It also made him uncompetitive on outside strikes, as he'd either swing-and-miss, or roll them over into the shift.

After he made the change, Tucker started steering inside pitches fair, and he was able to do something with pitches on the outer third.

The next step is finding a way to continue to diversify his batted ball profile. Tucker's pull percentage in 2020 was 47%. That's a higher pull % than guys like Kyle Schwarber and Matt Olson. It was only 1% lower than Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo.

The one dimensional batted ball profile allows teams to shift Tucker aggressively. Teams shifted Tucker in 74% of his at-bats. His wOBA against the shift is .304. In AB's where teams didn't shift him, Tucker had a .455 wOBA. The shift hurts Tucker more than most as well, because he hits the ball on the ground 39% of the time. Gallo and Olson hit it on the ground 32% and 35% of the time respectively.

Lastly, Tucker's performance on breaking balls leaves a lot to be desired. He crushes fastballs, as he batted .303 with a .574 SLG against fastballs in 2020, with a .292 xBA and .528 xSLG. His .208 AVG and .396 SLG against breaking balls aren't very good, and his .209 xBA and .340 xSLG don't tell a prettier story. His 32% whiff % against breaking balls is nearly double his whiff % on fastballs.

If Tucker can learn to be more competitive against breaking balls and learn to use the whole field, then he'll be a really scary hitter. If he doesn't, teams will be able to gameplan for him, and he'll see streaky production similar to other one dimensional hitters like Matt Carpenter and the aforementioned Gallo and Olson.

While the bat may be streaky, Tucker brings it with the glove and on the bases. He had 5 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) in the outfield in 2020, a 0.6 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), and he was plus-4 in Outs Above Average. His well above average speed and instincts give him the ability to be a rangy outfielder and dangerous baserunner.

Tucker had a breakout season in 2020, but there's still changes left to be made if he wants to be a breakout star and not a one hit wonder.

This is part four of an offseason series covering the 2020 Houston Astros. Be sure to check out parts 1-3 on SportsMap.

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