Houston Astros MLB Draft History And Projections
As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.
Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.
It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e., high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.
Here is a breakdown of the recent MLB Draft history of the Houston Astros:
General Manager: Jeff Luhnow
Scouting Director: Mike Elias
2018 Bonus Pool (Rank): $5,492,900 (29th)
2018 MLB Draft Order:
1st Round: 28th
2nd Round: 66th
3rd Round: 102nd
4th-40: 28th in each round.
First Round Picks Since 2013:
2017: J.B. Bukauskas (15th)
2016: Forrest Whitley (17th)
2014: Brady Aiken (1st)
2013: Mark Appel (1st)
Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):
The Astros have hit on a number of position players at the top of the draft in recent years, including OF George Springer (No. 11 overall, 2011) and SS Alex Bregman (No. 2 overall, 2015), but no pick has been more impressive than taking SS Carlos Correa with the first overall pick in 2012 on an underslot deal. Correa has been the most valuable player taken in the first round of the 2012 draft, edging out other talents like Corey Seager and Byron Buxton in bWAR. Most importantly, Correa helped push the Astros to a World Series championship last season.
Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):
In the top five rounds since 2013, the Astros have leaned toward college players, selecting 70 percent of their prospects from four-year universities, compared to just 23.3 percent from high school. The other 6.7 percent went to a pair of junior college selections (third baseman Abraham Toro in 2016 and righthander Ryler Ivey in 2017).
In the first round and supplemental first round, however, the Astros have been evenly split between prep and collegiate players, selecting four from high school and four from four-year universities.
The Astros are well-known at this point for being an analytical-focused organization. That carries over to the draft as well, as Houston will likely use statistics and models to a greater degree than most—or all—other teams.
Jose Urquidy Takes A Giant Step Forward
A post-Tommy John surgery velocity boost had helped push Urquidy toward the top of the Astros' depth chart.
Potential Draft Targets:
RHP Logan Gilbert — Gilbert has a heavy fastball that plays up with elite extension and more projection remaining than other college arms
C Noah Naylor — The younger brother of Josh Naylor, Noah is more hit over power with exceptional barrel awareness and a track record against professional arms
LHP Ryan Rolison — A high-floor college lefthander, Rolison shows a three-pitch mix including a fastball up to 96 mph with good life
OF Connor Scott — A plus runner with good feel for the barrel, Scott is developing power and has a plus arm with good chance to stick in center field—aka toolsy
IF Triston Casas — Casas has plus-plus raw power and an advanced, patient approach at the plate with surprising athleticism in the infield
SS Jeremy Eierman — A tooled-up college shortstop with a plus arm, Eierman also possesses plus speed and plus power
OF Trevor Larnach — A powerful corner outfielder, Larnach has finally started tapping into his juice more regularly this spring
RHP Sean Hjelle — A towering, 6-foot-11 righthander, Hjelle has a preternatural ability to throw strikes despite the length of his limbs
OF Steele Walker — A high-floor college outfielder who has some of the best feel to hit of any player in the 2018 class but no carrying tool
RHP Blaine Knight — One of the best pitchers in the SEC this spring, Knight has an electric arm, mid-90s fastball and high spin-rate breaking ball
RHP Cole Wilcox — A projectable, 6-foot-5 Georgia righty with a fastball up into the mid-90s and a sharp slider that has gotten sharper this spring
RHP J.T. Ginn — Ginn gets Sonny Gray comps regularly as a short righthander, but his fastball is harder and has more life than Gray's
LHP Kris Bubic — A college lefthander with no true plus offering, Bubic has a successful track record in the Pac-12 thanks to impressive pitchability
IF Nico Hoerner — Hoerner might have to move off of shortstop for second base, but he's hit in the Pac-12 and wood-bat leagues
RHP Griffin Roberts — A reliever turned starter this season, Roberts throws one of the nation's best breaking balls in a 70-grade slider with exceptional movement