The Astros’ 2015 draft: Two picks in the first five

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?

94 comments on “The Astros’ 2015 draft: Two picks in the first five

  1. Draft the highest player on your board! If you don’t, then your board is bogus. If you stick to your board, then a good player from your board will be skipped over and will be there for your #37, like Fisher or Reed was last year.

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  2. Well for me if AZ doesn’t take Dansby , jump on him, not sure if Bregman is the best choice if Dansby is gone. I like Tucker JT at 5.

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  3. Just for the fun of it – this is what various outlets are predicting the Astros will take with their first two picks.
    SI – Bregman (2) and Cameron (5)
    Baseball America – Swanson and Cameron
    Scout.com – Bregman and Tucker
    mlb.com (Callis) – Bregman and Benintendi
    mlb.com (Mayo) – Bregman and Tate
    milb.com (minor leagues website) – Bregman and Tucker
    Bleacher report – Tate and Tucker

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  4. Surely you did not mean to state that Andrew Benintendi drove in 727 RBIs.

    The Astros should draft Swanson at number two and Fullmer at number five. A team cannot have enough pitching.

    They will probably take Bregman at number two and Tate at number five. That is fine. Correa will be at third base by 2017 just in time for Bregman/Swanson to come up to play shortstop.

    I believe the club should choose college players this year to keep the pipeline fairly fresh and loaded for the near term. A shortstop being chosen will valuable because of what I stated about Correa in the previous paragraph.

    The club needs catching prospects but pitching is where it is at. Choose the best pitching prospect on the board at the time.

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  5. Definitely take the highest rated player on your draft board, regardless of the position he plays. If the kid proves to be talented enough the Astros will find a position for him. Personally, if Swanson is available at #2 I take him and then either Fullmer or Tate at #5. If they can get some savings on the draft pool from the first 2 picks I would look to grab a H.S. player, like they did with LMJ, with the supplemental pick that looks to be unsignable, but they can pay over slot money to convince him to sign.

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  6. Dan, I don’t think Andrew Benintendi had 727 RBI’s. From: CHIPALATTA To: jmarsh3rd@sbcglobal.net Sent: Monday, June 8, 2015 12:01 PM Subject: [New post] The Astros’ 2015 draft: Two picks in the first five #yiv2473763676 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2473763676 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2473763676 a.yiv2473763676primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2473763676 a.yiv2473763676primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2473763676 a.yiv2473763676primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2473763676 a.yiv2473763676primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2473763676 WordPress.com | Dan P posted: “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 t” | |

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  7. At 1.2 I like Swanson, if he’s available, Rodgers, if not. Then Benintendi at 1.5. The pitching pool is pretty shallow this year, especially in round 1. Cameron could fall to 37 because of reported contract demands, and that could play right into the Astros hands if they can save enough money under slot at 2 and 5.

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  8. I understand that Cameron is looking for $5MM to sign. Should Arizona take someone other than one of the shortstops at number one, the Astros could draft as number two whichever pitcher or outfielder they fear might not be available later at five and bank a considerable sum of money for later draftees. Then take whichever shortstop is left at five and sew up Cameron, or whomever else might be holding out for bigger bucks at 37. Just a thought.

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  9. I read this weekend that NCAA homeruns were up 38% through the first half of the year. The cause is believed to be flattening the seams, which makes it more difficult for pitchers to impart rotation on their breaking pitches.

    – 1.2 and 1.5 – Swanson and Bregman. I don’t think both can play SS and Bregman is already being moved to 2B by the draftniks and prognasticators.
    – Tate interests me due to the description of his slider. I think he’s too big of a question mark though.
    – Best player available on their board regardless of college / HS at 1.2 and 1.5. Factor in signability with the later picks.
    – No. We assume Correa and Altuve will play across from each other for a decade, but either or both could get injured or leave via FA riches.
    – I don’t trust our minor league offensive stats at Lancaster or Fresno. I’d love to see more arms come through. You can always find a buyer for pitching if you don’t have roster spots.

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    • The name I’ll throw out for pick 37 is Nathan Kirby. Last season I was certain he’d be a top 10 pick in 2015. Injuries and not meeting early expectations while playing in the best NCAA conference have dropped his stock a bit this year…so there is a chance.

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  10. Interesting takes everyone.
    Wallee – that is an intriguing ploy because there are some rumors that Arizona will draft a HS Catcher named Stephenson first who they think they can sign under slot. That would allow the Astros to do as you say.

    What I would do? I think I would take the HS shortstop and a college pitcher – and that is not getting to watch anything on these people – so don’t take it to the bank.
    I would hope the Astros would take the best available for once rather than try to play games.

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  11. First round is simply a matter of who is on top of your organization’s talent board when your turn[s] come up. We should get at least one SS that way this year. I hope we also get a pitcher.

    After round one, it’s a matter of balancing available talent levels vs. organizational need. Second round aim at the best pitching prospect available, our third round should aim at the best catching or 3B prospect available; our fourth round should aim at pitching again; and our fifth round should aim at the best prospect available for the position we did not draft in the third round. After that we take the best pitchers available in 2 of every 5 rounds, and alternate the other positions [starting with CF] in the other 3 rounds of the 5-round unit until we have good candidates at every position to put on our 1st year player teams.

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  12. There are zero – count ’em – ZERO – left-handed hitters in tonight’s Astro line-up. Chris Sale’s 79 Ks in 66 IPs has A.J. Hinch’s attention! Oh, and some guy named Correa is batting 6th and playing SS. Both Gonzalez and Villar are in the line-up as well.

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  13. And now for something completely different. Don’t get to used to Jose Altuve starting the All Star Game as Omar Infante is about to overtake him in the voting. Yes, he of the .221/.230/.308 slash line. Kansas City is stuffing the ballot box like there is no tomorrow. Eric Hosmer just passed Miggy to make it 7 Royals in the starting lineup. Jose will be the next to fall, then Mike Trout.

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    • If I hadn’t already blown all my votes for Altuve, Springer, and the rest of the Astros I’d have to consider thowing my weight behind an All-KC starting lineup. Sure, it would be better to see the NL get that distinction since the exhibition game counts now…but it would be hilarious and cause for immediate change by MLB.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Interesting news across the board:
    – 9 right handed batters – I wonder if the Astros have done that since joining the AL
    – KC stuffing the ballot box – The Cincy fans did it in 1957 – electing 7 of their players as starters. If it happens here in modern times what will baseball do about it?
    – Alex White we hardly knew ye….

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  15. What no love for a catcher?? Tyler Stephenson is a VERY good catcher, maybe Luhnow will draft him….I hope!
    Why in Gods green earth does Hinch have to put Villerror in left field??
    Tucker hits lefty’s………I don’t get “it”.
    Correa bats 6th. tonight……GET A HIT KID!

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  16. the draft may give us just a glimpse of what they are thinking about pitching and trades for pitching in the near future. my guess is a SS (rodgers) and a nice lefty hitting OF (tucker). if however one of those two is not taken and a pitcher is, that may signal willingness to trade 2 or 3 already in the system to get a TOR (actually 1-3) pitcher for the run this year.

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    • Becky – I’m checking the Net with my phone which is awkward but the only picks that can be traded are the compensatory picks like the one we got for Cosart. I could not find if the dates changed on that.

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    • Yes – the Trey Turner rule. Players drafted can now be traded one day after the World Series rather than waiting a full calendar year.

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      • Thanks Devin. I was thinking of trading picks before the draft not after – thanks for picking up on that.

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  17. Daz Cameron has not been picked yet and with his reported contract demands he may fall to #37, which may allow the Astros to select him.

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  18. I reached out to Chip who follows Louisiana based baseball closely for his opinion on the Bregman pick.
    “Bregman is a gamer much like Biggio. Excellent defensive player who may project more as a second basement though.
    He’ll be in Houston in 2017 bank on it.”

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  19. Bregman has the arm for a SS. Watch him in the upcoming college world series. He doesn’t strike out , has great bat speed, hits for a little power, makes very few errors, covers the field well, a very good baserunner, a leader in the SEC in stolen bases. He intends to be a shortstop not a 2nd baseman. In my opinion, he has a higher floor than Swanson. I’ve mentioned this twice before on the blog, but I feel his most important element is his leadership skills and energy that reminds me of Biggio. He was the 1st team all American this year and last year, not Swanson. He was the shortstop for team USA for the last two years, not Swanson. OK, I’m an LSU homer, but all of you are going to love this kid.

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    • He looked great going back, found the wall, maybe leaped when he didn’t have to and WHAM, a Villerror that wasn’t called. Popped right out of the old mitt. What wasted talent. It’s past time. Thinking he could be a super sub explains why I sell insurance for a living.

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  20. You cannot hide Villar’s glove. It is poetic justice that you would hide him in left and he would immediately cost the team out there.
    Jonathan’s Villar’s defense sucks everywhere. Da Bomb!
    But he sure looked good hitting right handed against Sale. NOT!

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  21. Like I said earlier…why..why..why play that idiot *anywhere* on this team. The guy costs you every…single time he plays!!! The call came in to Fresno 4hrs. After they lost yesterday’s game for Carlos Correa to get on an airplane to Chicago. If anyone needs to be dfa,d it was him instead of Matt Dominguez. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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      • I am not sure Buehler was considered a top 10 talent. I think many had Cameron rated in the top 10. However, I will grant you the Dodgers did very well also.

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  22. By the way, how are we liking that Cosart trade now? Marisnick, Moran, Martes and Cameron for Cosart, Kike and Wates looks really good now for the Astros. Yes, things can change, but, as of right now it looks like quite the haul for the Astros.

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      • What do you mean? That is how the trade has worked out, unless you are indicating Cameron is not an Astro yet since he hasn’t signed. If so, then I see what you are saying.

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      • Tim, as you have pointed out time and time again, only time will tell. Only time will tell what will happen to Cozart and Kike. My personal viewpoint is that we have the exodus of Cozart to thank for the Hernandez signing and the wasting of precious time and resources waiting on guys like Alex White and Dan Straily, and that we have the strange phenomenon of Jonathan Villar being our floating sub-par sub to thank for the departure of Kike Hernandez. But things could turn around one day. Will Marisnick stick? Will Moran ever make it at – much less past – AA? Will anybody ever see Marte? Will Daz Cameron be the next Delino DeShields, Jr. organizational mis-fit fiasco? Time will tell.

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  23. What a draft night! ESPN guys were talking about Bregman’s size, and they said he get’s REALLY ticked off when people tell him he might move to 2nd. That tells me
    he’s gonna work TWICE as hard to make it up as a short stop! Great game tonight for the “captian”……..not so much for the rest of this crew. *16* strike outs. DANG.

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  24. Alex White was released yesterday.
    Matty D was DFA’d.
    Hauschild promoted to Fresno.
    Chan Moon promoted to Fresno, as they had only 4 inf on the roster.
    Still looking for a spot on the 25-man for V Velasquez.

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    • Meanwhile Tyler Heineman’s BA is now up to ,394 for Fresno. And Joe Sclafani, after finally getting a little playing time, has raised his BA dramatically to.290. He got a hit, a walk, and scored two runs last night. He did not strike out even once. He actually walks more than he strikes out. He goes out and sets the table and makes things happen. Hmmmn. Sure wish we had someone like that on the major league team. Nah, let’s just continue to swoon over one “look who got lucky” home run every 5 or 6 games when we are not whining about all the strikeouts and ignoring a five-game losing streak.

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  25. I don’t know what to say Mr. Bill. I keep thinking the front office is supposed to be filled with people interested in the sabermatic side of baseball – but guys like Sclafani spend too much time on the bench or being shuffled between AA and AAA instead of being up in the majors showing what leadoff guys are supposed to do.

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    • The thing is that if past patterns repeat themselves, the promotion of Chan Moon to Fresno will mean that Joe Sclafani goes back to the bench – and he goes back to playing in at most every other game. I am happy for Chan – but I do not know what Joe has to do to get a chance.

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