Houston Astros 2022 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: Picking in the first round for the first time since 2019, the Astros selected OF Drew Gilbert (1), who was the best hitter on a Tennessee team that was the most dominant club in college baseball. After hitting .362 with more walks (33) than strikeouts (32) as a college junior, Gilbert hit .313 with more walks (four) than strikeouts (two) in 10 games split between the Florida Complex League and Low-A Fayetteville. His bat-to-ball skills and batting eye should give him a chance to be an above-average hitter.
Best Power Hitter: The Astros got a second first-round talent with their second-round pick, OF Jacob Melton (2), who homered four times and tallied six doubles in his pro debut. Melton spent four games in the Florida Complex League, but all of his extra-base hits came at Low-A Fayetteville, where he slashed .324/.424/.578 with some of the best top-end exit velocities of Houston’s 2022 draft class.
Fastest Runner: Gilbert (1) is at least an above-average runner and has turned in some plus run times from home to first, with the speed to be a good defender in center field. He’s never been a particularly aggressive basestealer, though he has been an efficient one—both in college (84%) and during his pro debut (86%).
Best Defensive Player: Gilbert (1) received above-average reviews for his defensive ability in center field at Tennessee, and while he isn’t the fastest runner you’ll see at the position, he takes solid routes and also has a plus throwing arm that should be an asset in holding base runners.
Best Fastball: RHP Tyler Guilfoil (8) sits in the low 90s and has topped out at 95 mph, but he dominated college hitters with the pitch during the 2022 season with Kentucky (.146/.259/.250, 34% whiff rate) while throwing it 80% of the time. It’s a lower spin fastball, but has more than 18 inches of induced vertical break and a shallow vertical approach angle which helps it play up.
Best Secondary Pitch: RHP AJ Blubaugh (7) was the back-to-back Horizon League reliever of the year with Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2021 and 2022 and his biggest bat-misser was a low-80s changeup. The pitch features almost 10 mph of velocity separation from his fastball, while also having around 12 inches of separation in vertical movement, and generated whiffs more than 40% of the time in his 18.2-inning pro debut.
Best Pro Debut: Melton (2) was 72% better than the average hitter in the Carolina League in his 19-game stretch with Low-A Fayetteville. He hit for average, got on base and hit for power while playing a solid defensive center field.
Best Athlete: OF Zach Cole (10) is a highly athletic outfielder who is a plus-plus runner and also has plus-plus arm strength in the outfield. There’s plenty of swing and miss to be ironed out of Cole’s game, but if he gets on base, he can be a menace, as evidenced by his 15 steals (83% success rate) with Low-A Fayetteville in just 28 games this summer.
Most Intriguing Background: LHP Trey Dombroski (4) became the highest-drafted Monmouth player since 2012, when the Red Sox took RHP Pat Light in the supplemental first round. Dombroski was a breakout prospect during the summer of 2021, when he transitioned from a reliever to a starter in the Cape Cod League and posted the lowest ERA (0.85) of any pitcher. His 3.8% career walk rate with Monmouth was enough for him to claim the best control of any college pitcher in the 2022 class.
Closest To The Majors: Gilbert (1) is able to impact the game in many different ways thanks to his well-rounded skill set and because of that he could push through the system quickly after establishing his bat in college baseball’s most competitive conference.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): The Astros managed to sign OF Ryan Clifford (11) for $1.2 million on the third day of the draft—a coup for any team. Clifford ranked as the No. 77 prospect in the class and fit as a second or third round talent and showed solid on-base skills (21.8 BB%) and top-end exit velocities in his pro debut.
The One Who Got Away: OF Isaiah Jackson (18) was the only player the Astros didn’t sign. Jackson ranked as the No. 293 prospect in the class and has big raw power with a 6-foot-3, 203-pound frame. The Arizona State commit also has big league bloodlines as the younger brother of Dodgers pitcher Andre Jackson.