One season after drafting and not signing the first overall pick the Astros will have the second and fifth overall picks in the first round in Monday’s draft. Last season, the Astros backed down their offer to Brady Aiken due to fears of future injuries to his arm, fears which proved warranted as Aiken underwent Tommy John surgery this spring.
So, the Astros own the second pick in this season’s draft as compensation for the Aiken pick and get the fifth pick they “earned” with last season’s 70-92 record. Here are thumbnail sketches on players considered to be in the top 10 of this draft class and therefore this list should include the Astros’ first two picks. There is an emphasis on “should” here, because the MLB draft can be a highly unpredictable animal.
Dansby Swanson SS (Vanderbilt). Moved from shortstop to second base out of high school and then back to shorstop after his double play mate was drafted last year. He was the Most Outstanding Player in 2014 College World Series.
Key stats . 350 BA/.438 OBP/13 HRs/58 RBIs in 60 games
Alex Bregman SS (LSU). Might be more likely to make it as a second basemen in the majors. Solid hitter with some pop.
Key stats – .330/.418/9/47/32 SB in 57 games
Brendan Rodgers SS (HS). Projects as a player who starts out as a shorstop, but might be a power hitting third baseman at some point.
Key stats – .366/.480/8/24 in 29 games
Daz Cameron OF (HS). The son of former major leaguer Mike Cameron will hear his name called long before the 18th round where his father was picked. He is probably more speed than power at this point, but is seen as a likely center fielder and potential 5 tool player.
Key stats – .455/.569/8/32.
Kyle Tucker OF (HS). Yes, Preston Tucker‘s younger brother, who reportedly has the same sweet left handed swing, but with a more athletic body. A lot of people think he is the Astros’ preference for the fifth pick overall.
Key Stats. .407/.581/8/21
Tyler Jay LHP (Illinois). It is a little unusual to see a full time reliever listed this high in the ratings. But after the fast track 2014 draftee Brandon Finnegan took to the majors, some people see this Illini of being capable of similar instant help.
Key Stats. 29 games/14 saves/5 wins/0.60 ERA/0.61 WHIP
Carson Fullmer RHP (Vanderbilt). Moved from the bullpen to starting pitcher in 2014 and led Vanderbilt to the national title. Might end up as a closer due to his size (5’-11”).
Key stats. 1.97 ERA/136 Ks in 100.2 IP
Dillon Tate RHP (Cal St Santa Barbara). After two years in the bullpen, Tate upped his draft value with a strong 2015 in the starting rotation. There are some questions about his durability, but he had an excellent 2015 campaign.
Key stats – 2.25 ERA / 0.91 WHIP / 111 K in 103 IPs
Andrew Benintendi OF (Arkanasas). Considered the top college outfielder available in the draft, he is a decent contact man with developing power and some speed.
Key stats. .320/1.033/727 RBIs
Jon Harris RHP (Missouri St.). One wonders if getting bombed in the Super Regional (8 runs in 5 IP) will affect his draft status. Hopefully his team will give him another chance to showcase his arm.
Key stats. 2.45 ERA/8-2 record/116 Ks in 103 IPs
The variety of choices is not that great in this potential top 10. Three SSs, two OFs, four RH starters and one LH reliever, including seven college players and three high schoolers. The experts are calling this a poor draft class, but if a team hits on the right player or players they won’t care.
And these thumbnail sketches do not include those players who may be available when the Astros make their “other” 1st round pick. This is the compensation pick they received between the first and second rounds in the Jarred Cosart trade. As a reminder in 2014 the Astros picked the very promising Derek Fisher as a compensation pick at 37 and in 2012, picked the even more promising Lance McCullers Jr. as a compensation pick at 41.
So – questions:
- Who do you think the Astros should draft with the second and fifth picks overall?
- Who do you think they will pick if it is different than who they should pick?
- Should they go college, high school or a mix?
- Should the Astros worry about picking up a shortstop when they have Correa so close to the majors?
- Is there any position (catcher?) you think they should chase with the third first round pick – the 37th overall pick?