Houston Astros

Players signed indicated in Bold

Round Overall Player Position School State Bonus
1 1 Carlos Correa SS Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R. P.R. $4,800,000
With the record now at 17th overall, Correa should become the highest-drafted player ever to come from Puerto Rico. He already has a big league body at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, yet he's light on his feet and shows fluid actions with a cannon for an arm. For those reasons, the team that drafts him will allow him to stay at shortstop. While he may get a little bigger, his tools would also allow him to be a premium defender at third base. Correa has garnered comparisons to both Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Zimmerman. At the plate, Correa shows excellent balance and rhythm, as well as patience, to go along with exciting bat speed and natural loft. His swing can get a little long at times, leaving him exposed to quality fastballs inside, but he's learning how to make adjustments and projects to hit for average and power. Correa is a plus runner now, but he could lose a step or two as he fills out. He is one of the youngest players in the draft class and shows excellent work ethic, dedication and maturity. Correa is committed to Miami, but it would be a shock if he winds up on campus.
1s 41 Lance McCullers Jr. RHP Jesuit HS, Tampa Fla. $2,500,000
McCullers' father was a second-round pick in 1982 out of Tampa's Catholic High and had a seven-year major league career, primarily as a reliever. His son emerged early on as one of the top members of the 2012 draft class and at one time rated as the class' top player. Built similarly to his father but bigger at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, McCullers has a strong, athletic body and pitches with power and aggression. He was used mostly as a reliever the last two years in high school and had his outings limited to two- or three-innings regularly prior to this season. Now starting, he's learned to go through a lineup repeatedly and has improved his strike-throwing ability with both his fastball and his slider. Some scouts put 70 grades on both pitches, and that might be selling McCullers short. His fastball sits 94-96 mph deep into games, with reports that he's hit 100 several times this spring. His slider, also thrown with power in the mid-80s, has good bite and depth. McCullers has thrown a changeup but it's an unnecessary third pitch in high school. Most evaluators believed McCullers had no shot to stay in a rotation as a professional, but he's started to change some minds this spring with his improved pitchability. The majority of scouts still believe he's a future reliever, though, which makes it harder to find a first-round fit. McCullers has committed to hit and pitch at Florida if he slides too far.
2 61 Nolan Fontana SS Florida Fla. $875,000
Fontana came to Gainesville in the summer of 2009 as part of a top-ranked recruiting class that included Mike Zunino, Brian Johnson and Hudson Randall, among others. Fontana became the everyday shortstop as a freshman and has helped take the Gators to back-to-back College World Series trips. Scouts see him as one of the draft's safest bets for his defensive and hitting skills, despite his lack of impact tools. One opposing coach likened Fontana to Novocain: "Give it time, it works." Fontana grinds through at-bats, seeing plenty of pitches and drawing walks. He has learned to punish mistakes and had nine home runs through April, after hitting eight in his first two seasons combined. Some scouts say Fontana has above-average speed, and all note his heady, smart baserunning. He's an efficient, surehanded defender at short who has made just three errors this season. He should play there as a professional, at least as a utility player, but profiles better as a second baseman due to his range and average arm. Fontana has no impact tool but should be a big leaguer for a long time, and should be the second college middle infielder drafted after Arizona State's Deven Marrero.
3 96 Brady Rodgers RHP Arizona State Ariz. $495,200
Being at Arizona State almost hurts Rodgers because it's easy for scouts to compare him to another former Sun Devil and say, "Well, he's not Mike Leake." While Leake does have better stuff and athleticism, Rodgers still has plenty to offer. Like Leake, Rodgers is a bit undersized, and his stuff plays up because of his varied arsenal and pinpoint command. He fills up the strike zone with an 88-92 mph fastball and adds three solid secondary pitches: a curveball, slider and changeup. His slider is the best of the three and might be a tick above-average, but his command is better than his pure stuff. Scouts see Rodgers as a back-of-the-rotation starter and worry that his slender, 6-foot-2, 198-pound frame may not be able to withstand the grind of 180 innings and that over a full season his fastball might be below-average at times.
4 129 Rio Ruiz 3B Bishop Amat HS, La Puente, Calif. Calif. $1,850,000
Ruiz gained a high profile as the star quarterback for Southern California football power Bishop Amat, but a hyperextended left knee cut his senior season short. Ruiz also starred on the baseball showcase circuit last summer and generated first-round buzz early this spring, but his spring was cut short when he had surgery to remove a blood clot in his neck in March. Ruiz projects as a third baseman in pro ball, and his sure hands, good instincts and body control give him a chance to be an average to plus defender despite his lack of lateral mobility. He is a below-average runner but owns an above-average arm, and he has touched 94-95 off the mound. Scouts like Ruiz's lefthanded swing, quick hands and bat speed, but his approach needs refinement, as he has a tendency to dive out over the plate at times. He has flashed plus raw power, and he projects as an average hitter with average to plus game power.
5 159 Andrew Aplin OF Arizona State Ariz. $220,000
Aplin sets himself apart because he's one of the best defensive center fielders on the West Coast. Even though he has just fringe-average foot speed, Aplin gets great jumps and always takes proper routes to balls. He has a strong, accurate arm. Aplin has a 6-foot, 200-pound frame and some strength in his lefthanded swing, but he's a below-average hitter with gap power. He has good bat control, as he's struck out just 38 times over 446 college at-bats. Unless Aplin makes strides with his bat, his profile is that of a fourth outfielder.
6 189 Brett Phillips OF Seminole (Fla.) HS Fla. $300,000
A 6-foot-1, 185-pound outfielder, Phillips has a good profile as a lefthanded hitter who throws righthanded and has plus speed. His fast-twitch athleticism helped him become an all-county football player as a senior--the only year he played varsity. He's also raw on the baseball diamond but has plenty of tools, including perhaps the state's best throwing arm. Some scouts give him 70 grades on the 20-80 scale for his arm and his speed, though that's more often on his jailbreak swings. He should be an above-average center fielder with experience. Scouts' biggest questions center on his bat. Phillips uses the whole field, but scouts have to project to give him even average power. He uses more of a contact-oriented swing at this point, though he will show power in batting practice. Phillips had draft helium in May, and scouts were trying to judge his signability. He has committed to a resurgent North Carolina State program, which spirited a similar player, Trae Turner, out of Florida last spring. He may have to go in the first three rounds to keep him away from college.
7 219 Preston Tucker OF Florida Fla. $100,000
Tucker has anchored the Gators' lineup since he stepped on campus. He's moved to right field from first base for much of the last three seasons and has improved his defense in right to become an adequate college defender. After a slow start to 2011, Tucker came on and finished among the nation's top 20 in home runs despite the bat changes. His slow start and high bonus demands helped push Tucker down to the 16th round (Rockies). He didn't sign and returned for his senior year. Tucker is a known commodity, a thick-bodied, strong power hitter with limited value beyond his bat. While he has some arm strength, his lack of mobility in his 6-foot, 220-pound frame prompts most scouts to see him as at best a left fielder, if not a first baseman or DH. He's a 20 runner, and his bat speed is just average, so he doesn't always catch up to premium velocity. His Cape Cod League track record with wood bats is poor. What he has is present strength, a feel for hitting (he's about to break Mark Ellis' Florida career hits mark) and plus raw power. At worst, Tucker should anchor a Triple-A lineup down the line and get some big league cups of coffee thanks to his bat. At best, he could be a second-division regular in the Brian Daubach mold.
8 249 Tyler Heineman C UCLA Calif. $125,000
After playing sparingly for two years as Steve Rodriguez's backup, Heineman assumed the everyday job this spring and had a breakout season. He hit over .400 deep into the season before cooling off late. With a stocky 5-foot-10 build that evokes Mike LaValliere or a Molina brother, Heineman is a hard-working, blue-collar player with a passion for the game. He's not a polished receiver but projects as an average defender with enough quickness to block balls in the dirt effectively. He handles pitchers well and controls the running game, thanks to an average arm and a quick transfer and release. Offensively, Heineman is a switch-hitter with a contact approach from both sides. He sprays the ball around the field and doesn't strike out often, but he doesn't offer any power. He profiles as a solid backup catcher in the big leagues.
9 279 Daniel Minor RHP Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Texas $50,000
After two years at McLennan (Texas) CC, Minor made an immediate impact at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He tied the school record for wins, going 10-3, 2.20 with 110 strikeouts in as many innings. Though he's small at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, he works at 88-90 mph with his fastball. He opened some eyes by hitting 93 during the Southland Conference tournament. He also spins a breaking ball well and throws strikes.
10 309 Joe Bircher LHP Bradley Ill. $20,000
It's unlikely that the Cape Cod League ever has had a strikeout leader with less fastball than Bircher. He fanned 48 in 44 innings last summer--and also finished second in the ERA race at 1.44--while working at 84-86 mph and topping out at 88. He arrived at Bradley throwing 78-81 mph and leaves four years later as the school's all-time strikeout king with 302, including 113 in 110 innings in 2012. The key to the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder's success is his fading changeup, which makes his fastball look like it's arriving in the low 90s. Though scouts aren't enamored with his athleticism or delivery, he's able to locate his entire four-pitch repertoire wherever he wants it. His curveball and slider are fringy but play up because of his ability to command them.
11 339 Hunter Virant LHP Camarillo (Calif.) HS Calif.
Virant is still fairly new to pitching, and his fresh arm, lean 6-foot-3 frame, smooth delivery and athleticism suggest he has plenty of projection remaining. He worked mostly at 87-89 mph early in the year and has shown more velocity as the season has progressed, running his fastball up to 93 at times. He could add velocity as he matures, but even if he pitches with average velocity his fastball will play up because of his downward angle and ability to locate it to both sides. His delivery helps him hide his changeup, which projects as a plus pitch with fade and sink and he learns to throw it more consistently. He flashes a decent slider, and it has shown more power at times. In the offseason and early in the year, his curveball was slow and loopy, but some scouts said it looked better later in the spring. Still, he needs to improve his feel for his breaking stuff. Some scouts suggest he could benefit from three years at UCLA, and he is considered an expensive sign.
12 369 Terrell Joyce OF Florida State JC Fla. $100,000
13 399 Brian Holmes LHP Wake Forest N.C. $100,000
14 429 Joe Sclafani SS Dartmouth N.H.
15 459 Erick Gonzalez RHP Gateway (Ariz.) CC Ariz. $100,000
16 489 Dan Gulbransen OF Jacksonville Fla.
Dan Gulbransen should have ranked among BA's Top 500 due to his hitting track record. Adam Brett Walker's wing man the last three seasons at Jacksonville, Gulbransen is a lefthanded hitter without a plus tool other than his bat. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and barrel awareness, and he makes consistent contact with a fairly polished approach. At 6-foot, 200 pounds, he's not loaded with power and is a fringe-average runner, and his performance slipped in his junior season, from .370/.491/.546 in 2011 to .324/.414/.478 in 2012.
17 519 Aaron West RHP Washington Wash.
West is a redshirt junior who has had an up-and-down career for the Huskies. He had Tommy John surgery as a sophomore and has blossomed this year, putting together his best season. West went 7-5, 2.53 with 65 strikeouts and 18 walks over 96 innings. He throws his fastball in the 90-93 mph range and tops out at 95. His slider comes in around 82-84 mph with late tilt, and he also throws a changeup. West commands all three pitches and pitches down in the zone.
18 549 Ricky Gingras C Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) Calif.
19 579 Austin Elkins 2B Dallas Baptist Texas
After slumping as a sophomore in 2011, Elkins got back on track with a strong summer in the Cape Cod League and has performed well in his draft year. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder hit .356/.439/.629 during the regular season, making consistent hard contact from both sides of the plate. He has average speed and good instincts on the basepaths and in the field.
20 609 Michael Clark LHP Kent State Ohio
21 639 Marc Wik OF Chabot (Calif.) JC Calif.
22 669 Kenny Long LHP Illinois State Ill.
23 699 Travis Ballew RHP Texas State Texas
The Southland Conference pitcher of the year after leading the league in wins (11) and strikeouts (119 in 102 innings) in his first year as a starter, Ballew is a little guy with big stuff. The 6-foot, 160-pounder pairs an 89-94 mph fastball with a hard slider. Though he does a good job of throwing strikes, his size and the effort in his delivery lead scouts to project him as a pro reliever who could have two plus pitches.
24 729 Pat Blair SS Wake Forest N.C.
25 759 Ryan Dineen SS Eastern Illinois Ill.
26 789 C.J. Hinojosa SS Klein Collins HS, Spring, Texas Texas
Hinojosa planned to graduate early from high school last winter so he could enroll at Texas and become the Longhorns' starting shortstop this spring. But his academic load became overwhelming, so he opted to graduate with his class in June. Hinojosa has one plus tool: his righthanded bat. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder has a quick bat and sees pitches well, allowing him to drive the ball to all fields with good pop for a middle infielder. His average speed and solid arm play up because of his instincts, which give him a chance to stick at shortstop in pro ball. He makes all the plays and would have pushed projected first-rounder Gavin Cecchini to second base on the U.S. 18-and-under team last summer had Hinojosa not injured his non-throwing shoulder. Scouts still don't think any team will be able to sign him away from Texas. They also were disappointed that he let his 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame get a little soft this year, though that didn't stop him from playing well before he had surgery to repair a dislocated left shoulder in April.
27 819 Tanner Mathis OF Mississippi Miss.
Mathis is the opposite of teammate Zack Kirksey. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder has a feel for the barrel and is a consistent hitter with excellent command of the strike zone and solid baseball instincts on the basepaths and in center field. Mathis has no home run power in his slap approach and doesn't run as well as a similar player, former Ole Miss leadoff man Jordan Henry.
28 849 Angel Ibanez 3B Texas-Pan American Texas
29 879 Christian Garcia RHP Florence-Darlington Tech (S.C.) JC S.C.
30 909 John Neely RHP Texas Tech Texas
31 939 M.P. Cokinos C St. Mary's (Texas) Texas
32 969 Tyler Manez LHP Plainedge HS, North Massapequa, N.Y. N.Y.
33 999 Mike Hauschild RHP Dayton Ohio
34 1029 Jordan Jankowski RHP Catawba (N.C.) N.C.
35 1059 Jimmy Sinatro C Skyline HS, Sammamish, Wash. Wash.
36 1089 Mike Martinez 3B Florida International Fla.
Florida International's young team leaned on veteran three-hole hitter Mike Martinez, whose performance should give him a shot at pro ball. He's a bad-bodied 6-foot, 215-pounder with decent arm strength who has played a passable third base this spring for the Golden Panthers. His offensive numbers with the BBCOR bats (.393/.498/.597 in 2012, 15 HR in 2011) stem from his short swing and solid strength.
37 1119 Michael Dimock RHP Wake Forest N.C.
38 1149 Zach Remillard 3B LaSalle Institute, Troy, N.Y. N.Y.
39 1179 Mitchell Traver RHP Houston Christian HS Texas
Traver established himself as a first-round candidate with a breakout performance at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., last fall. He sat at 92-94 mph with hard sink on his fastball and backed it up with a hard curveball and a solid changeup. His 6-foot-7, 240-pound frame added to his intrigue. But Traver hasn't lived up to that standard this spring. He has operated mostly at 89-92 mph with his fastball, showing less life and command. His secondary pitches have been inconsistent too, as has his ability to repeat his delivery. Traver is more physical than athletic, struggling at times to stay on top of his pitches and to field his position. It's still easy to dream on Traver's upside, but he figures to go no higher than the third round--and that may not be early enough to sign him away from a Texas Christian commitment.
40 1209 Joseph Shaw RHP Ennis (Texas) HS Texas