Fourth-Round Thoughts

• The Astros continue to play their board by going with high school third baseman Rio Ruiz from Bishop Amat High in La Puente, Calif. Ruiz was projected to be picked a couple of rounds higher entering the year, but missed most of the season with a blood clot in his right shoulder. When healthy, Ruiz has profile tools at third base, including a strong arm and some lefthanded power at the plate. If he signs away from his commitment to Southern California, Ruiz would join former high school teammate Wallace Gonzalez in the Astros’ system.

• The Royals snatched up Stanford second baseman Kenny Diekroeger, and if Cardinal righthander Mark Appel thinks he slipped, Diekroeger is a guy who went in the second round to the Rays out of high school. He has some athleticism and defensive skills, but most scouts see him as a gap hitter who profiles best as a utility player and there’s no way he’ll come close to the $2 million he reportedly turned down out of high school. The slot value for pick No. 133 is $346,600.

• If the Red Sox are able to save some money with their five picks before him, they could have a steal with North Carolina high school righthander Ty Buttrey, who touched 96 mph earlier in the spring. Buttrey works extremely fast and shows a good curveball and a solid changeup. Already 19 years old, Buttrey would be draft-eligible again as a sophomore if he heads to Arkansas.

• The fourth round saw a run on several pitchers who project best in the bullpen, starting with San Jose State righthander Zach Jones (Twins) to Xavier converted righthander Seth Willoughby (Rockies), Oklahoma lefthander Steven Okert (Giants), Utah righthander Tyler Wagner (Brewers) and Faulkner (Ala.) righthander Corey Black (Yankees).

• Expect to see some below-slot deals in the fourth round with players such as Hawaii high school shortstop Branden Kaupe (Mets), Samford senior outfielder Brandon Miller (Nationals), Stetson righthander Tucker Donahue (Blue Jays), Missouri high school first baseman Justin Chigbogu (Dodgers) and Arizona shortstop Alex Mejia (Cardinals).

Donahue is a sinker-slider pitcher who made our Florida state list in 2011 but not in 2012, when he pitched fewer than 30 innings. Miller is a college senior who led Division I in home runs this spring with 23.

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