Houston Native Rodgers Thrilled To Join Astros
HOUSTON—At the top of this draft—or really any draft—littered with velocity, lankiness and most notably, projectability, Astros third-round pick Brady Rodgers might stand out just based on how he doesn't stand out.
He's not 6-foot-5. He doesn't throw 95 mph. He's not what you'd build in the pitcher factory if you could create the mold.
The 6-foot-2 Rodgers—taken by the Astros out of Arizona State with the 96th overall pick—is a polished pitcher and an accomplished collegian who could move quickly through the minors.
"Anybody can throw the ball," the confident and affable Rodgers said. "It takes the good ones to be able to command all pitches. I'm still working on that. I'm trying to get on Greg Maddux's level."
For now, Rogers headed to short-season Tri-City to refine a wide arsenal led by a 90-91 mph fastball with above-average command.
"He's got four pitches and I think there's a little more to his fastball as well," assistant general manager of scouting Bobby Heck said. "He was very successful in the Pac-12 and has good makeup."
And while his arsenal features few superlatives beyond the command, he does hold one superlative within the Astros' draft class.
The 21-year-old native of Houston was the first of the team's 41 picks to sign, arriving at the ballpark the day after the draft and getting a deal done.
An Astros fan for life, even one who would watch games online from Arizona, he said that he and his parents had tears in their eyes when they got the call from the Astros.
"It was pretty easy," said Rodgers, who signed for $495,200, the slot value of the pick. "My hometown team, the team I grew up loving, it was pretty simple. It was either sign or sign. It was an easy decision for me."
• As the Astros sorted through their bonus pool, they were a bit hamstrung by the fact that three of their top 10 picks made the College World Series: Florida shortstop Nolan Fontana and outfielder Preston Tucker, and UCLA catcher Tyler Heineman.
• The Astros' last three first-round picks were named all-stars in their leagues, with 2011 first-rounder George Springer making it in the high Class A California League and 2010 top picks Delino DeShields Jr. and Mike Foltynewicz making it in their repeat years at low Class A Lexington.