Houston Astros Three-Round Mock Draft
The MLB Draft is a little over a week away and for the first time since Jose Cruz was a rookie (it seems), the Astros will not be picking in the top five. In fact, the Astros will be picking at 17 and only have two more picks in the top 100.
Through trades, the Astros have drastically affected the organizational depth at a few positions, and while Luhnow and company have been all about drafting the best players available in recent years, they may go into this year’s draft with specific positions in mind. I believe these positions are outfield, starting pitching, and catcher.
Something to keep in mind, however. The Astros will be operating with a much lower dollar amount to sign players. This means that the team will likely target singable college players that have less negotiating leverage. The exception would be if a touted HS arm fell to them at pick 17.
Much can change, of course, in the next week and there’s simply no way to predict how team’s picking ahead or behind the Astros will draft. But, given the current rankings from a variety of sources, and the limited financial pool the team will be working with, one can at least estimate which players may be available. With that said, here is my three round mock Astros draft…
Round 1, Pick 17: Cody Sedlock, RHP, Illinois
Also considered: Buddy Reed, OF, Florida; TJ Zeuch, RHP, Pittsburgh
Long shot: Cal Quantrill, RHP, Stanford
I think when all is said and done the Astros opt for a “safe” college pitcher. Sedlock offers a lot of what the Astros prefer: pitchers with three to four pitch mix, who induce ground balls, and have high spin rates. Sedlock also hasn’t had a lot of wear and tear on his arm as he pitched primarily out of the bullpen his first two years at Illinois. Reed has an assortment of tools including a cannon of an arm and plus speed. But the bat is too inconsistent though with proper development could be fixed. Zeuch is a big man with a big arm. While his fastball can be electric, his off speed offerings are too inconsistent. Quantrill hasn’t pitched this year due to TJ surgery in 2015. But if healthy, he’s a top 5-10 talent. Assuming Quantrill is still there at 17, I think Luhnow passes due to his aversion to elbow abnormalities (Aiken) and, possibly, Stanford pitchers (Appel).
Round 2, Pick 61: Heath Quinn, OF, Samford
Also considered: Anfernee Grier, OF, Auburn
Long shot: Alec Hansen, RHP, Oklahoma
Yes, the Astros drafted Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron last year. But they are several years away from the bigs. Quinn offers the combination of potentially plus power with the ability to get on base via excellent pitch selection and the tools to be a slightly above average defender as a corner outfielder. He also could help sooner than Tucker and Cameron. If Quinn is off the board, Grier could be a nice pick if the team was also high on Buddy Reed in round one. Grier has a similar tool set as Reed with a little less speed and power potential. I don’t believe he makes it this far but due to a complete mechanical meltdown this year, Hansen could be worth a high risk-high reward selection here. Hansen has a top five arm but he’s a mess and only a team confident in his ability as well as the ability to coach him will even dare touch him.
Round 3, Pick 97: Cooper Johnson, C, Carmel Catholic HS (Illinois)
Also considered: David Martinelli, OF, Dallas Baptist
Longshot: Ben Bowden, LHP, Vanderbilt
Johnson has major questions regarding his bat. But, he’s also the most advanced defensive high school catcher in perhaps five years. If he goes to college and his hit tools improve, he’s easily a first rounder in a couple of years. As such, Johnson could be a tough sign as a third rounder. However, I believe the Astros save a bit drafting college players in the first two rounds and are able to ink him to a deal. He would be a worthy project as he’s already well above average athletically and in framing pitches. If Reed, Quinn and Grier are passed over, Martinelli could be the guy they target. He’s an above average hitter in all areas potentially and has made major adjustments this year to address his swing and miss tendencies. If it clicks, Martinelli has similar tools as Derek Fisher, albeit with less raw power. Bowden is intriguing as he has a ceiling as a potential set up man or closer with a floor of a back end starter. Depending on how teams view his future, he could be off the board in the second round or last well into the fourth round.
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