Derek True Surprises Astros With More Velocity Than Expected


A trio of college righthanders from last year’s draft stood out to the Astros early in the season.

Third-rounder Jake Bloss had already reached Double-A Corpus Christi, while 13th-rounder James Hicks and 18th-rounder Derek True advanced from Low-A Fayetteville to High-A Asheville in May.

True surprised Astros officials with more power than expected when they drafted him out of Cal Poly.

“When we took Bloss out of the draft, we knew the arm talent,” Astros senior director of player development Jacob Buffa said. “It was evident. It was just a matter of him maturing into pro ball. What we never can really expect is the uptick in velo we saw in True.”

True’s fastball topped out at about 92 mph in college and then during his brief debut in the Rookie-level Florida Coast League last year. 

After an offseason workout regimen, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound True showed up with an increased velocity. He now sits around 94 mph consistently. 

“He came in this year just a little bit bigger,” Buffa said. “He’s a little bit stronger, a little bit more explosive than we saw him when we drafted him, which was very cool to see on our end.

“It looks like that physical development manifested in the velo.”

The 23-year-old True pitches in tandem with Hicks at Asheville, one pitcher starting and the other following him in relief.

“We promoted Hicks first, and True was right behind him,” Buffa said. “Hicks and True throw on the same day, which is usually a very good day for the Tourists.”

Through nine appearances, True had recorded a 4.17 ERA in 36.2 innings to go with 49 strikeout sand 11 walks. Asheville plays as an extreme hitter’s park, and True had allowed six home runs through his initial 15 innings. 

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone