2011 Draft Report Card: Houston Astros


The Astros have their own board, which values raw athleticism for hitters and tall pitchers. That was particularly true in this draft, where Springer, Houser and especially Armstrong hold the keys.
Bonus Spending: $5.5 million
BEST PURE HITTER:  The Astros didn't draft a player who has hitting as his best tool, though they believe that OF George Springer (1) will hit for average. He cut his strikeout rate at Connecticut from 29 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2011. BEST POWER HITTER:  Springer has strength, bat speed and snap in his hands, producing well above-average raw power. 1B Chase Davidson (41) has similar raw power due to his strength. FASTEST RUNNER:  The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Springer is a plus runner, as is OF Javaris Reynolds (7), similarly sized at 6-foot-2, 210. BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:  Springer glides to the gaps in center field and owns a plus arm for right if he needs to move. His overall tools packages resembles that of Matt Kemp.


BEST FASTBALL:  RHPs Jack Armstrong (3) and Adrian Houser (2) both flash mid-90s fastballs, with Armstrong having better life and Houser better command. BEST SECONDARY PITCH:  Houser shows feel for a hard curveball with plus potential. RHP Nick Tropeano (5) has extreme confidence in his changeup, which has late fade and excellent arm speed.


BEST PRO DEBUT: LHP Kyle Hallock (10), signed for just $40,000, ranked eighth in the short-season New York-Penn League in ERA and had 61 strikeouts in 62 innings. Tri-City teammate Tropeano had 63 whiffs in just 53 innings while going 3-2, 2.36. Davidson hit .335/.426/.646 at Rookie-level Greeneville with 11 home runs—as many as he hit in three seasons at Georgia. BEST ATHLETE: Springer and Reynolds, who needs an offensive approach to go with his strength and athleticism. MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: RHP Buddy Lamothe (40) was attracting draft interest in the spring at San Jacinto (Texas) JC, hitting 93 mph, when a May 1 diving accident left him with serious neck and spinal cord injuries. The Astros picked him anyway, then presented the paralyzed pitcher with a wheelchair-accessible van in August, courtesy of owner Drayton McLane. Armstrong's father Jack started the 1990 All-Star Game for the National League. Houser's father was his high school coach, while his cousin Bob Davis spent eight seasons in the majors as a catcher. CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Springer could move quickly if his bat progresses. Tropeano's change gives him a weapon to dominate the lower levels of the minors. BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: OF Wallace Gonzalez (29) has good athleticism and size at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds and had significant Division I football interest as a tight end. His baseball pedigree kept him from ever committing to play college football. RHP Tyson Perez (17) has a strong curveball to go with a fastball that reaches 92-94 mph at times. THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: The family of RHP Gandy Stubblefield (14) loves Texas A&M. The Astros offered the projectable 6-foot-4, 190-pounder more than $500,000 but couldn't keep him from College Station.