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Astros Draft Report

By Tom Halliburton
June 4, 2002

HOUSTON--Derick Grigsby heard he might be selected between the second and fifth round. Becoming a first-rounder was a shocker.

The 19-year-old righthander attracted interest as a high school pitcher from Marshall, Texas, before he signed with the University of Texas. They never lost interest after his move to Northeast Texas CC in Mount Pleasant, about 45 minutes from his home.

"I was hearing mostly that I was going in the second round," Grigsby said. "I was kind of stunned."

The 6-foot, 200-pound Grigsby stunned batters this spring at the JC level (.168 opponents' batting average). He also grew up fast after high school, following his mother's unexpected death during routine surgery in the spring of 2001.

"We like the package he's got," said Astros scouting director David Lakey. "I don't see any need for us to rush him. We can take our time with him. He throws in the low-to-mid 90s and he has an 85 mile-an-hour slider, plus the makings of a good changeup. He's a power guy with a good command of three pitches."

Houston was extremely impressed midway into this season when Lakey observed Grigsby's mound work.

Astros executives followed through on their intention to load up with pitchers: 15 of their first 22 selections. That's what farm director Tim Purpura said he expected to happen.

"We were picking 29th and we felt this was a top-heavy pitching-dominated draft," Lakey said. "We did not feel there were a lot of college position players that were real high on our list. We went with the best available player, though, when it came our time to pick."

Lakey did not seem concerned at all by the Astros' amount of pitching prospects at their lower-level clubs.

"That's the nature of the draft and we saw Derick quite a bit," Lakey said. "He's a ways away and he doesn't have a whole lot of innings so I would expect it's going to be awhile for him to move up."

Grigsby allowed 29 earned runs in 72 innings this spring at Northeast Texas CC, with 29 walks and 91 strikeouts.

"I decided to go the Juco route to get to the pros faster and drafted out of my sophomore year," Grigsby said.

Houston grabbed a high school righthander from Utah in the second round, selecting Mitch Talbot (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) from Canyon View HS in Cedar City. As is Grigsby, the 18-year-old Talbot is regarded as a power pitcher.

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