Dan Peschong is back today with a quick revisit of the 2012 draft.
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If you ever want to get depressed – head off to baseball-reference.com and look at Houston Astros drafts through the years and check out how those players performed (or did not perform) in the majors.
It doesn’t take long to see an average draft might snag one decent major league performer and a handful of cup of coffee players. A good draft would result in 2 solid major leaguers and some side flotsam. It could be argued that the 1987 draft that netted Craig Biggio in round one and Darryl Kile in round 30 and might have snagged Scott Erickson in the 34th round (if he had signed) along with lesser lights like Al Osuna was the Astros greatest draft ever. Or you may prefer the absolute bargain of 1996 with Wade Miller in the 20th round and Roy Oswalt in the 23rd round.
The bottom line is that even with huge holes in the major league team and all the opportunities in the world – expecting to hit on three solid major leaguers or more out of a single draft constitutes something tremendous and basically unprecedented in franchise history. So, with minimal information in hand – is it possible that Jeff Luhnow’s first draft for the Astros in 2012 could be one of “those” drafts. Let’s take a look.
1st round – #1 overall – Carlos Correa – After getting his feet wet in rookie ball – he has had a straight away great year at Quad Cities (A ball). As an 18 years old, he is sporting a .331 BA / .414 OBP and is a solid run producer with 60 runs scored and 65 RBIs this season. I would love to see him jumped to at least Lancaster (A+) before the end of the year.
1A sandwich pick – Lance McCullers – Similar to Correa this RHP signed early enough to have 6 weeks in rookie ball in 2012. This year he is putting up very solid numbers alongside Correa at Quad Cities with a 3.05 ERA, 10+ Ks / 9 IP and a 1.33 WHIP. His control needs some work – more than 4 BBs/9 IP, but hey, he’s only 19 years old.
2 – Nolan Fontana – Last season at Lexington (A ball) SS Fontana put up one of the most ridiculous lines I’ve ever seen when he put up a .464 OBP despite only hitting .225. This season the 22 year old is still an OBP machine (.426) which has led to 78 runs scored. (Note – the best OBP on the big club belongs to Robbie Grossman at .358)
3 Brady Rodgers – Despite so-so numbers at Lancaster, which is not a pitcher’s paradise (9-6 record but a 5.34 ERA), this 22 year old RHP has come the closest to the big show this season. The local product (Lamar Consolidated High) had good fill-in outings at both AA Corpus (5 scoreless innings) and AAA OKC (5 IP, 1 run).
4 Rio Ruiz – This third baseman has had a mediocre year at A ball Quad Cities batting .250 with 8 dingers at a corner IF spot. But he’s only 19 years old and does draw walks at a rate above 10% of his PAs.
5 Andrew Aplin – The 22 year old OF had a super hot start to the season, but even after cooling off, he still has solid numbers at High A Lancaster. Again it is hard to judge those numbers at the high altitude but he has good walk numbers and his 91 runs scored and 91 RBIs really standout at this point in the season.
6 Brett Phillips – After struggling a bit at lower A ball, the 19 year old OF was shifted back down to rookie ball at Greeneville and is putting up solid numbers there – especially a .395 OBP.
7 Preston Tucker – This 22 yr old OF is one of those players, who looked a lot better at altitude (Lancaster) than at sea level CC. He does walk and drive in runs in droves – he was driving them in at a one per game pace at Lancaster – but he is still knocking them in at a 95 RBI for 162 game pace at CC. Faithful blogger daveb gave us an in-person eyes-on evaluation of Tucker that painted him as a shorter, fatter, slower version of Brett Wallace. That sounds more like a catcher than an OF.
8 Tyler Heineman –Speaking of catchers, this 22 year old out of UCLA – killed it at Tri Cities in 2012 – and now has good numbers at Lancaster offensively with 12 HR and 52 RBIs while throwing out almost 40% of runners.
9 Daniel Minor – Another Texas product (Dripping Springs and TAMU-Corpus) – the 22 year old RHP has good numbers at Low A ball 7-2 record 3.40 ERA with a middle of the road K/9 IP.
10 Joe Bircher – The LHP out of Bradley has pitched well at each of the 3 levels he has been at – but he has only reached Low A ball and he is a good bit older (23) than most of his competition.
Beyond the 10th round – the prospects are made up of mostly 4 year or so college players, who either have to make it quick or not at all. Here are comments on a few of the players making the most noise:
11th round – Hunter Virant – Only significant as the first draft choice not signed from this draft as he went to UCLA instead.
14 Joe Sclafani – This SS is tearing things up at hitter friendly – Lancaster (A+) .325 BA/.427 OBP /.921 OPS. But he is 23 yrs old.
16 Dan Gulbransen – The 22 yr old OF has ridden his .400+ OBP from lower A ball to A ball to A+ ball this season.
23 Travis Ballew – The 22 yr old RHP out of Texas State has a great 13.4 K/9 IP pared with a mediocre 4.63 ERA at A+ Lancaster.
31 MP Cokinos – Never having seen him play – I’m not sure if the Memorial HS product is super flexible as he has played C/1B/OF and DH for Lancaster or just a player without a position. The 23 yr old does seems very comfortable at the plate with 80 RBIs, .314 BA/.410 OBP and .921 OPS.
33 Mike Hauschild – The 23 yr old LHP out of Dayton was excellent at Greenville in 2012, had a great start in 2013 at Quad Cities with a 6-1 record and a 2.92 ERA and now has had a good start after promotion to easy hitting Lancaster with a 3.32 4 ERA.
34 Jordan Jankowski – After posting a 2.61 ERA at Quad Cities – the 24 year old righty just received a quick promotion to Lancaster.
So, could this draft class be something special and what would special mean?