Welcome fellow fans, analysts, scrutinizers, and pundits. I'm Justin and I'll be hosting the Houston Astros draft for the community. To start off, I'd like to get to know the general Astros opinion on the draft so please comment below with suggestions/questions/concerns.
The State of the System:
Houston looks pretty solid in terms of farm strength after a few consecutive years of picking early in the draft, with players that really address needs across the board. The rotation is seemingly chock full of impressive prospects including Appel, Feliz, Wojciechowski, Foltynewicz, McCullers, Velasquez, amongst others. The future at shortstop looks promising in the hands of Carlos Correa and there really are few holes this team has in terms of depth at any one position. With that said, I'm going to be drafting simply based on best player available in my eyes.
* In addition, the Astros have $13,362,000 available for signing bonuses
*UPDATED* The Picks
Luckily (Or unluckily depending on how you view it), the Astros have the 1st overall pick. Yay! (déja vu, right?)
1.1 (1) Astros $7,922,100
1.37 (37) Astros (from the Bud Norris trade) $1,534,100
2.1 (42) Astros $1,350,000
3.1 (76) Astros $748,600
4.1 (107) Astros $494,800
My strategy on drafting and analyzing pitching prospects depends on whether they are coming out of college or high school. For high schoolers, I want to see command/control and the a solid offspeed or breaking pitch. Velocity is not the biggest concern for me because high schoolers will continue to grow and add bulk for a few more years. Coming out of college though, I want to see a more refined set of offspeed or breaking balls along with the ability to hit a usable velocity (command/control is a plus).
On the other hand, I value high school and college bats the same way. I look for plate discipline and bat speed. Athletic speed is not what I look for so don't expect a leadoff type unless it's a great value. Simple enough, right?
Seeing as how the Astros have the second highest bonus pool, money should not be too big of a problem. So lets go ahead and look at our first round targets today. Obviously, we have the cream of the crop waiting for us.
1. Carlos Rodon - "Top of the charts slider. Excellent fastball. Doesn't finish his delivery. Throws uphill. I worry about the shoulder. Top of the rotation stuff though." - John Sickels
He is generally seen as the consensus top pick in the draft and it's hard to formulate an argument against that. However, his season has been up and down and there have been minor concerns.
2. Brady Aiken - "San Diego prep Brady Aiken has thrown harder and had a sharper breaking ball while maintaining excellent command for a high schooler, and his star turn with USA Baseball’s 18-and-under team is another asset." - Baseball America
I like him just as much as Rodon really and he could make a legitimate case for #1. Rodon's track record is great but Aiken may have a higher ceiling.
3. Tyler Kolek - "Kolek has pushed his fastball to 100 mph and above several times this spring, even out of the stretch. He throws both a 12-to-6 curveball and a sharp slider, and though the slider is newer to him, it has more upside. He rarely uses a changeup, but it has the potential to become an average offering." - MLB Prospect Watch
Kolek is not looked upon highly in my books. The heat is great but it's incredibly rare to see speed that high be maintained through the minors unless he is converted to a reliever. Coming out of HS makes me even more worried.
After that, the draft tends to fall a bit and it is highly doubtful that anyone that is not one of these three launches themselves to be pick number one. Unless...
Anyways, let me know what you all think and suggest picks for pick #37 and #42 (Doing those two at the same time)
I'm also looking for an assistant GM so let me know if you're interested.
Finally, Baseball America subscribers can see a nice piece on the Astros' situation in the draft here. (Trying to be unbiased between my three favorite scouting sources: BA, Minor League Ball, and the MLB Prospects staff)