Astros 2020 MLB Draft Preview: Houston Won't Factor Into First Two Rounds
Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, MLB teams do not draft for immediate need. There’s good reason for that, as even the most MLB-ready draft prospects usually take two seasons to get fully established in the majors. But as we ready for the 2020 MLB draft, it is useful to look at where teams are deep and where they are thin at the MLB and minor league level.
Also of note:
2020 ORG TALENT RANK: 27th.
2019 MLB RECORD: 107-55
STATE OF THE SYSTEM: After years of graduating talented players to Houston—Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, George Springer, Lance McCullers Jr. and Yordan Alvarez form an excellent core—the system is understandably thin. They have one player—Forrest Whitley—among the Top 100 Prospects, though Jose Urquidy is close and helped the club during its 2019 postseason run. The system falls off rapidly in the middle of the Top 10.
BEST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: 3B Alex Bregman (first round, 2015). As you might have guessed from their success, the Astros have made some pretty darn good picks over the last decade. Both Correa and Springer would fit nicely here, but we’ll give the nod to Bregman. The Louisiana State product has done nothing but hit since arriving in the big leagues and has finished among the top five in MVP voting (including a runner-up finish in 2019) each of the last two seasons.
WORST DRAFT PICK OF THE DECADE: 1B A.J. Reed (second round, 2014). This is more difficult than it appears. The Astros whiffed on the first overall pick in 2013 by taking Mark Appel, but he at least helped them acquire closer Ken Giles from Philadelphia. A year later, the Astros failed to sign Brady Aiken with the first overall pick, but they used the compensatory pick they received to select Bregman a year later. That leaves Reed, who put together some monster years in the minor leagues but flunked his only extended big league test and was waived by the Astros in 2019. He was picked up by the White Sox and got a quick cup of coffee in Chicago late last season.
DEEPEST POSITION(S): Righthanded pitcher. With Whitley and Urquidy at the top, the Astros have a total of 21 righties in their Top 30 prospects. The rest of group includes fireballers like Bryan Abreu (who made the team’s 2019 postseason roster), fireballer Luis Garcia, high-upside guys like Jairo Solis (who missed the year with Tommy John surgery) and Jojanse Torres and strikeout machine Brett Conine.
WEAKEST POSITION(S): Lefthanded pitcher. The Astros have no lefthanders among their Top 30 and have drafted none in the top 20 rounds since 2017, when they took Parker Mushinski out of Texas Tech.
DRAFT TRENDS: After picking toward the top of the draft for the first part of the decade, the Astros’ run of success has pushed them to the back. As part of the penalty for their sign-stealing scandal, the team was stripped of its first- and second-round picks for the next two seasons.