Houston Astros 2021 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: Outfielder Quincy Hamilton (5) was one of the country’s most productive hitters this spring with Wright State. He posted a .374/.535/.771 slash line with 15 homers and 18 doubles, though that came in an admittedly hitter-friendly park and conference. In 33 games with Low-A Fayetteville, Hamilton hit .261/.366/.357 with two home runs in 33 games.
Best Power Hitter: Outfielder Tyler Whitaker (3) was Houston’s first selection of the draft in the third round. He’s a tooled up prep player who has plus raw power but will need to iron out some things with his swing to get to more of that juice in-game.
Fastest Runner: Outfielder Michael Sandle (10) has been given double-plus run grades that should allow him to stick in center field and create chaos on the bases. He stole 15 bags in 16 tries (93.8%) with South Alabama during the spring and in 35 games with Low-A Fayetteville Sandle went 9-for-10 (90%).
Best Defensive Player: Shortstop Chad Stevens (11) showcased plenty of defensive versatility while at Portland and in his pro debut he logged time at second base, shortstop and third base. He has a chance to stick at shortstop, but he’s got the arm for third and might best fit as a utility infield type depending on how his bat develops.
Best Fastball: The first pitcher Houston selected in the 2021 draft was righthander Chayce McDermott (4) who was healthy this spring after dealing with injuries throughout his collegiate career. He ran his fastball up to 98 mph this spring and sits in the 93-95 mph range.
Best Secondary Pitch: Righthander Spencer Arrighetti (6) has an above-average slider and racked up 22 strikeouts to just two walks during his 13.2 inning pro debut between the FCL and Low-A East.
Best Pro Debut: The Astros signed righthander Ray Gaither (NDFA) after the draft after a solid spring with Dallas Baptist as a split starter/reliever. He threw just 13.2 innnigs during his pro debut but as a 23-year-old he was pushed to High-A East and overall across three levels posted a 3.95 ERA with 15 strikeouts and six walks out of the bullpen.
Best Athlete: Sandle’s speed and strength make him a good fit for this category. He has shown 60-grade raw power in the past, though there are questions about how much of that he’ll get to, and we’ve already discussed his impressive running ability.
Most Intriguing Background: The Astros have now drafted standout reliever Billy Wagner (1993, first round) and his son, second baseman Will Wagner (18). Wagner was a productive hitter across four seasons with Liberty (.305/.377/.462) and hit well during his pro debut with Low-A Fayetteville this summer (.299/.388/.436) as well.
Closest To The Majors: McDermott started four of the seven games he appeared in this summer in his pro debut, but he has the bat-missing stuff that could play well in a bullpen role if the Astros decide they don’t want to develop him as a starter. That route could push him to the bigs quicker.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): The Astros took a pair of arms out of the Dallas Baptist program during this draft, and are particularly excited about righthander Rhett Kouba (12) who moved from the bullpen to the weekend rotation this spring and pairs a solid three-pitch mix with excellent command. He threw 18.1 innings between the FCL and Low-A East, posting a 2.45 ERA while striking out 20 and walking just two.
The One Who Got Away: The Astros didn’t come to terms with their second overall selection, prep shortstop Alex Ulloa, who ranked as the No. 258 prospect on the BA 500.