Thanks to last summer's Brady Aiken debacle, the Houston Astros hold two of the top five picks in the 2015 MLB draft, an unprecedented opportunity to add impact talent to their already impressive farm system. Unfortunately for the Astros (and for everyone else too), the 2015 class appears rather weak and unsettled right now, with injuries and spotty performances having dragged down the stock of several players who were expected to go early.
Let's pretend you are the Astros. Florida high school shortstop Brendan Rodgers is still viewed as the top overall player in the draft by most experts but after him it gets murky. For our purposes here, let's assume that the Arizona Diamondbacks, who pick first this year, select Rodgers (in reality that is not a slam-dunk yet but let's assume it for now) and don't do anything unexpected. Let's further assume that the Rockies at number three take a pitcher (Kyle Funkhouser? Carson Fulmer? Dillon Tate?) and the Rangers at four take a toolsy high school hitter as they often do.
So what do you do if you are the Astros? You hold picks two and five. Do you draft one pitcher and one hitter? Two hitters? Two pitchers? College, high school, or one of each?
I have been pondering this and my initial idea was to take the two best college position players available, which in my view would be Dansby Swanson of Vanderbilt and Alex Bregman of Louisiana State. That would be one excellent middle infield combination; both have strong bats, Swanson is a legitimate shortstop and Bregman would slot nicely at second. Both are advanced players and likely won't need long in the minors.
The natural objection is that the Astros already have the best shortstop prospect in baseball in Carlos Correa, and they already have an excellent second baseman in Jose Altuve, so how would Swanson and Bregman (assuming they develop as expected) fit into that scheme? On the other hand, "drafting for need" at the top of the draft is problematic and if Swanson and Bregman are the two best guys available, you pick them anyway. If necessary Correa can move over to third base, maybe Bregman can play the outfield, and you can always work a trade if you end up with "too many" middle infielders who can hit.
What do you think of that idea? Am I barking up the wrong tree? Does it make sense or would the Astros be better off taking one hitter and one pitcher, or two pitchers? Should college guys be the focus or would you be okay drafting a high schooler, and if so, who?
Don't worry about bonus demands and agents. Just think in pure baseball talent terms. What should the Astros do?