Cole Tucker ready to start journey through minor leagues

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates' first pick in the 2014 draft was introduced to the Pittsburgh media today, and I don't know if he can hit with power, but Cole Tucker can knock a press conference out of the park.

The press conference started with Tucker hopping onto the interview platform in the press conference room. Then, in what is always an awkward moment, where you almost feel sorry for the player having to go through it, when it came time for him to put on a Pirates' jersey for the first time, Tucker paused, as he was having trouble with the buttons, looked up at cameras and the press.

"They always say, ‘You don't want to be the guy up their fiddling with his buttons in front of the entire press conference,'" Tucker said. "It's not the worst feeling."

Neal Huntington, who has received some criticism for possibly reaching a little in the first round, introduced Tucker.

Huntington used the word "passion" at least five times in describing Tucker's love for the game and the closeness of his family.

"You feel the passion this family has for their son," Huntington said. "You quickly realize ... the passion Cole has for the game.

"This was a guy our guys had the radar early in the season," Huntington said. "They knew he was getting better, he was developing, he had now skills defensively."

Huntington added that Pirates' scouts thought that Tucker would be a "top five or ten pick" next year.

"This is a day I've been dreaming about my entire life," Tucker said after being introduced. "To join an awesome organization like the Pittsburgh Pirates."

Kevin Young and Pedro Alvarez are friends of the Tucker family, so he's always had close ties with the organization, Tucker said.

"Plus, I'm just a baseball junkie, so I can go watch a big league game or minor league game, or whatever. I've always had interest in the Pirates, so it's really cool to put on the jersey and be part of the organization."

Pedro Alvarez reached out to Tucker after the draft and told him, "It's going to be a long grind with a lot of ups-and-downs, but the key through the whole thing is to stay consistent as a baseball player."

Asked if he knew the Pirates were going to pick him when their selection came up, Tucker said, "Yeah, I kind of knew a couple picks before that it was going to be Pittsburgh."

"I had been hearing really good things throughout the whole day that I was going to go pretty early, in the top 40," Tucker said. "I figured out around pick 22 that it was going to be Pittsburgh."

When he heard his named called, Tucker said he was "jumping up and down."

"I had friends and family over at the house, and we were like ‘It's happening! It's happening!'" he explained. "And it happened, and it was a really cool thing."

Tucker said that it was not a difficult decision to skip college and sign with the Pirates.

"You talk to people who really don't know baseball and they say, ‘Really, you're going to skip college? Isn't that what you're supposed to do?' And I'm like, ‘No, I really like this better.'"

Tucker concluded the press conference by saying that he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him if he is going to make it to the majors.

"I feel like if I want to be a major-leaguer, I have to improve every aspect of my game," he said. "There is nothing I do right now that's good enough to be out there on that field right now."

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