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2011 MLB Draft: Houston Astros Draft Report

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The Houston Astros had a very conservative draft, but Springer & Armstrong offer unusual upside for college players. The class is loaded with easily signable talents (in fact most have signed already), and they NEED to get Armstrong to forgo his senior year at Vanderbilt. Flamion & Stubblefield would be nice gets as well, but they both seem college bound.


-Steve Fiorindo's picture of Billy Flamion from the Urban Youth Academy Showcase

Pick Player School Pos B/T Ht Wt DOB Class
11 Springer, George University of Connecticut OF R/R 6'03" 205 9/19/1989 JR
There are those that love George Springer and there are those that are skeptical. Whichever side you may fall, the tools cannot be denied. Springer established his prospect status during his Sophomore season at UConn, displaying a power/patience/speed mix that left few who saw him unimpressed. The bat speed was ridiculous but the swing was high effort and came with plenty of swing and miss. During the summer preceding his Junior season, his stock exploded when observers saw him in the Cape and during Team USA's run. After a slow start to his season (certainly not surprising for a cold weather player facing warm weather competition), many jumped back off, questioning his hit tool. The thing that perplexed me is that nothing in his profile had changed from the summer when he was lauded as a top 5 talent.

In the end, Springer did enough to get drafted 11th overall by the Houston Astros. I am one of his believers. Springer DID make progress this season, showing a slightly more controlled swing that resulted in a much better contact rate. The swing can still get out of control but when talking about that kind of bat speed from a 5 tool talent, it's hard to ding him too much. He is considered very coachable and a hard worker, meaning he should be able to cash in on his tools once he enters pro ball. This was a shot of upside that this organization desperately needed.
69 Houser, Adrian Locust Grove HS (OK) RHP R/R 6'04" 205 2/2/1993 HS
This was earlier than I expected Adrian Houser to go. His desire to sign quickly got him a $530K bonus to forgo Oklahoma, but that doesn't mean he is uninteresting. The quickness of the arm is what immediately jumps out when watching video of Houser. Next is the frame which seems to have some projection remaining. The delivery isn't overly smooth as the arm seems to be ahead of his lower half a bit, but there doesn't seem to be too much effort involved either. Houser also seems to spin a hard breaking ball well. He is currently racking up strikeouts in the GCL; the extra development time could allow him to jump into full season ball next year.
99 Armstrong, Jack Vanderbilt University RHP R/R 6'07" 230 12/14/1989 JR
Armstrong has shown flashes of being a first round arm throughout his college career. His best run came during the summer in the Cape following his Freshman season at Vanderbilt. He hasn't shown much consistency since then, but the makings of an above-average starter are still there. First, we need to acknowledge the bloodlines (his father, Jack Armstrong Sr, pitched 7 seasons in the MLB) and the ideal body. Next, we need to look at the stuff; I only got a chance to see him out of the bullpen this year, but it was enough to convince me that his ceiling was still intact.

The fastball is big, sitting in the mid 90s, with late arm side run and sink. It was difficult for hitters to square up and resulted in mostly ground ball contact when they put it in play. The breaking ball is hard with sharp 1-7 break with some two-plane-iness, and the change has some arm side fade as well. All three can miss bats and induces ground balls. The main issue is that his release point, and ultimately his control/command, needs more consistency in order for him to start. He's an excellent athlete so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Armstrong will likely command a well over slot bonus to sign. He was under utilized this year at Vanderbilt (both because of his back injury and because of Vandy's ridiculous pitching depth). He's currently pitching on the Cape and should become a fixture in Vanderbilt's rotation should he return for his Senior season.
130 Lee, Christopher Santa Fe CC LHP L/L 6'03" 175 8/17/1992 J1
Chris Lee was drafted out of high school in 2010, but I still had very little on him pre-draft. Bobby Heck always seems to identify under the radar pitching prospects and draft them relatively high. Lee may fit that billing. He's already signed and pitching in the Appy. 
160 Tropeano, Nick SUNY Stony Brook RHP R/R 6'04" 205 8/27/1990 JR
Tropeano was considered a potential 1st round caliber player a couple years ago, based primarily off of his impressive ability to dominate in college. He's continued to succeed at Stony Brook, but the stuff just wasn't good enough for him to reach that lofty status. His fastball is an average pitch at best, relying more heavily on a good change-up and pitchability. Tropeano does do a good job of getting ground balls and could emerge as a solid back of the rotation starter. He has already signed and playing in the NYPL.
190 Meredith, Brandon San Diego State LF R/R 6'02" 225 12/19/1989 JR
Brandon Meredith was a big recruit for San Diego State who has mostly underachieved during his time there. He still possesses interesting tools, primarily above-average power & speed, to go along with a very physical body. He's not quite as toolsy as Cory Vaughn was a year ago, but there are some parallels and he will look to replicate his post-SD State success. Meredith has already signed and is off to a good start in the NYPL.
220 Reynolds, Javaris King HS (FL) CF L/L 6'01" 190 1/24/1993 HS
250 Culbreth, Brandon Forsyth Country Day School (NC) RHP R/R 6'04" 200 7/27/1992 HS
280 Dufek, Jonas Creighton University RHP R/R 6'05" 215 6/30/1988 SR
A senior out of Creighton, Dufek is a solid performer with good size, an average fastball and an improved slider. He has already signed and is playing in the NYPL.
310 Hallock, Kyle Kent State University LHP L/L 6'02" 185 8/6/1988 SR
Hallock was overshadowed by fellow LH Kent State starter, Andrew Chafin, but he was a solid college performer. He has good command, an average fastball, and a decent slider. A solid senior sign who could find himself on a major league roster eventually. He's currently playing in the NYPL.
340 Gominsky, Justin University of Minnesota CF R/R 6'04" 185 8/26/1989 JR
370 Hamblin, Miles University of Mississippi C L/R 6'03" 200 10/22/1988 SR
You may remember Hamblin from the 2009 draft. At the time, he made some noise as a JuCo catcher out of Howard, but ultimately went undrafted thanks to his commitment to Ole Miss. Things went south from that point and he is more of an organizational player at this point.
400 Hinson, John Clemson University 2B L/R 6'01" 180 9/13/1988 SR
Hinson had some top 5 round buzz at the beginning of the year that he couldn't sustain. I watched quite a few Clemson games this year, Hinson never stood out. Like most on that team, he is athletic and has a good approach at the plate, but beyond that, he was unmemorable. 
430 Stubblefield, Horace Lufkin HS (TX) RHP R/R 6'05" 190 7/23/1992 HS
Gandy Stubblefield is a projectable RHP whose current package probably isn't good enough to buy him out of his Texas A&M commitment.
460 Johnson, Zachary Oklahoma State University 1B R/R 5'11" 200 6/16/1988 JR
490 Zuloaga, Scott Scottsdale CC LHP L/L 6'03" 205 9/20/1989 J2
520 Perez, Tyson Fresno CC RHP R/R 6'03" 215 12/27/1989 J2
550 Miller, Kevin University of California, Berkeley RHP R/R 6'00" 195 8/25/1989 SR
580 Lambson, Mitchell Arizona State University LHP L/L 6'01" 195 7/20/1990 JR
Lambson has well below average velocity and above-average offspeed offerings. He's a crafty LH reliever whose command leaves a good bit to be desired considering his repertoire. He worked well in college, but he has an uphill climb to succeed in pro ball.
610 Duffy, Matthew University of Tennessee 3B R/R 6'03" 215 2/6/1989 SR
640 Howick, James Jacksonville University SS R/R 6'02" 185 8/26/1990 JR
670 Muren, Andrew California State University - Northridge CF L/R 6'06" 195 11/22/1988 SR
700 Sosa, Ruben Oklahoma City University 2B S/R 5'07" 170 9/23/1990 JR
730 Wierzbicki, Jesse University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill 1B R/R 6'03" 200 11/24/1988 SR
760 Flamion, Billy Central Catholic HS (CA) LF L/L 6'01" 195 1/19/1993 HS
Flamion entered last summer as a potential high draft pick, but there are flaws in his game that made It unlikely any team buys him out of his Oregon commitment; as a result, he slipped considerably further than his pure talent dictated. Flamion has excellent bat speed and projects to hit for power, but it also comes via a noticeable upper cut swing and a pull oriented approach. Whether he makes enough contact to utilize that power is a question mark. He also pitched for his high school team which means he should have the arm strength for right field.
790 Fisher, Jared Newport HS (WA) RHP L/R 6'04" 235 9/1/1992 HS
820 Todd, Alex Sonoma St University SS R/R 6'02" 190 8/15/1989 SR
850 John, Jordan Oklahoma University LHP R/L 6'03" 200 7/5/1990 SO
880 Gonzalez, Wallace Bishop Amat HS (CA) RF R/R 6'05" 230 2/11/1993 HS
910 Steranka, Jordan Penn State University 3B L/R 6'03" 195 11/14/1989 JR
940 McKinney, Jarrod University of Arkansas RF R/R 5'11" 205 10/14/1989 JR
970 Dando, Zachary Central Arizona College RHP R/R 6'03" 175 1/4/1991 J2
1000 Taylor, Dominique Salt Lake CC CF R/R 6'01" 190 8/11/1992 J1
1030 Kellogg, Dustin Caney Creek HS (TX) RHP R/R 6'04" 185 2/16/1993 HS
1060 Morales, Christopher Clear Creek HS (TX) RHP R/R 6'05" 205 7/22/1993 HS
1090 Gonzalez, Kevin Texas A&M University C R/R 5'10" 190 11/6/1987 SR
1120 Martin, Steven Texas A&M University RHP R/R 6'06" 225 11/16/1987 SR
1150 Propst, James Oklahoma State University RHP R/R 6'01" 180 3/18/1989 SR
1180 Haerle, David College of the Canyons RHP R/R 6'02" 195 3/16/1992 J1
1210 Lamothe, Buddy San Jacinto College North RHP R/R 6'03" 225 10/11/1990 J2
1240 Davidson, Chase University of Georgia 1B L/R 6'05" 222 1/14/1990 JR
1270 Granger, Hoke Northside Methodist Academy (AL) CF R/R 6'02" 200 5/31/1992 HS
1300 Grimes, David Upton Lakes Christian School (NY) OF S/R 6'01" 180 2/13/1993 HS
1330 Ford, Blake Lamar University RHP L/R 6'05" 215 5/16/1988 5S
1360 Epps, Christopher Clemson University OF L/R 6'00" 190 12/10/1988 SR
Epps is a good athlete with a patient approach at the plate, in other words, he went to Clemson. The bat speed is solid and he has decent speed, but he does have some contact issues. I was mildly surprised by just how far he fell.
1390 Shults, Justin University of California, Riverside 1B L/R 6'03" 205 12/2/1987 SR
1420 Hardoin, Zachary University of Missouri - Columbia LHP L/L 5'10" 190 7/11/1988 SR
1450 Murray, Andrew Westfield HS (NJ) C R/R 6'02" 215 4/4/1993 HS
1480 Peterson, David College of Charleston RHP R/R 6'05" 205 1/4/1990 JR
1510 Davis, Colton Lake Wales HS (FL) CF R/R 6'03" 190 8/27/1992 HS


Jeff Reese is a member of Bullpen Banter. He can be reached at or via twitter. An index of his College Baseball Notes series can be accessed here.