2012 Draft Report Cards: Houston Astros




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See also: Draft Report Card Index
POSITION PLAYERS


QUICK TAKE
The Astros used the second-largest bonus pool ($11.2 million) to stage baseball's best draft, with obvious impact at the top complemented by later college draftees like Fontana, Alpin and Tucker.
Bonus spending: $12.1 million
Best Pure Hitter: The Astros had plenty of history with 3B Rio Ruiz (4) and believed his swing was as sweet as any in the draft. That's why they were willing to give him $1.8 million even though he missed most of the spring with a blood clot in his neck that required surgery. He has balance, bat speed and bat-to-ball skills to spare. Best Power Hitter: SS Carlos Correa (1), the draft's No. 1 overall pick, hit what Houston called "freak show" homers in instructional league. At 6-foot-4 he has plenty of leverage in his swing, and his natural opposite-field power bodes well for his future home run totals. Fastest Runner: OF Brett Phillips (6) has consistent plus speed and will turn in some well above-average times. Best Defensive Player: Correa has tremendous footwork, balance, hands and arm strength. If he outgrows shortstop, he'll be a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman. OF Andrew Aplin (5) is just an average runner but smoothly patrols center field thanks to his instincts and excellent reads off the bat. He also has a solid arm.

PITCHERS

Best Fastball: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (1s) hit 99 and 100 mph in the spring and easily sits at 93-97 mph as a starter. By saving bonus-pool money when they landed Correa for $4.8 million, the Astros were able to meet McCullers' $2.5 million asking price. RHP Aaron West (17) had a velocity jump after signing, working from 90-96 mph after rarely touching 95 in the spring. Best Secondary Pitch: McCullers has a terrific power slurve with mid-80s velocity and tilt. When he's locating it, hitters have no hope.

ODDS AND ENDS

Best Pro Debut: OF Preston Tucker (7) helped push short-season Tri-City into the New York-Penn League playoffs by hitting .321/.390/.509 with eight homers. Alpin started in Tri-City and jumped to high Class A Lancaster, batting .313/.378/.493 overall with 24 stolen bases. LHP Kenny Long (22) joined him at Lancaster and struck out 38 in 22 innings overall while posting a 1.61 ERA. Best Athlete: Phillips has quick-twitch explosiveness that Correa lacks, but Correa's combination of graceful actions and body control speak to his overall athleticism. Most Intriguing Background: McCullers and his father, who pitched seven seasons in the majors, were the 41st overall pick in the draft 30 years apart. SS Nolan Fontana (2) is the grandson of 203-game winner Lew Burdette. Unsigned C Jimmy Sinatro's (35) father Matt caught in the big leagues and coaches with the Cardinals. Closest To The Majors: Fontana and Alpin, two polished college hitters and defenders. Best Late-Round Pick: West, a Tommy John surgery alumnus who throws three pitches for strikes and should remain a starter. The One Who Got Away: The Astros took LHP Hunter Virant (11) and SS C.J. Hinojosa (26) as insurance in case higher picks didn't sign. Virant wound up at UCLA and Hinojosa went to Texas.