Houston Astros 2012 Draft: Where Are They Now?
With the draft concluding only days ago, the main focus for each franchise now is to get their players signed and on a minor league roster as quick as possible. For the draft picks, this is their time to get professional tutoring from some of the best coaches in baseball to attempt to work their way up through the system to crack a Major League Roster. Though the road is not a short one, some work hard enough and have enough success to make their minor league tenure relatively short.
The rebuild of the Houston Astros really started with the 2012 Draft as it was the first draft with new GM Jeff Luhnow at the helm, and since the Rebuild has been completed as the Astros are now a Playoff Contender year in and year out, here is where the first ten picks of the Houston Astros’ 2012 Draft are now:
Round 1, Pick 1 – Carlos Correa, SS
The Astros were blown away with the kid from Puerto Rico during Team Workouts and went against the expert consensus and drafted Correa over Byron Buxton with the first pick. Correa signed for a $4.8 million bonus, $2.4 million under slot value. Correa was magnificent in his short time in the Minors and earned a Call-Up to Houston in June, 2015. He has yet to reach anywhere near his full potential, which is frightening to future opponents. 2016 MLB Stats: .257/.351/.419, 8 HRs, 32 RBIs, 32 BB, 70 Ks.
Competitive Balance Round A, Pick 41 – Lance McCullers, RHP
McCullers was a Top-15 talent that fell in the draft due to his commitment to the University of Florida, but was able to be plucked away from the Gators with the Astros taking part of the $2.4 million saved from the Correa signing and giving it to McCullers, signing him to a $2.5 million bonus nearly double the slot value of $1.26 million. Viewed as a reliever coming out of the draft, the Astros groomed him as a starter and called him up shortly before Correa in 2015 without having him pitch in AAA. He had some shoulder issues coming into the 2016 season, but has come back and is slowly getting back to his old form. 2016 MLB Stats: 3-2, 33.2 innings, 4.54 ERA, 1.693 WHIP, 6.1 BB/9, 11.8 K/9
Round 2, Pick 61 – Nolan Fontana, SS
Fontana was drafted out of Florida, where he was a consistent hitter who can get on base a ton. Since being drafted, he has struggled to consistently hit for average but still gets on base and a high rate. With others having passed him up in the Minors, his best shot at the Pros may be with another franchise. 2016 AAA Stats: .194/.274/.251, 2 HR, 20 RBIs, 20 BBs, 55 Ks
Round 3, Pick 96 – Brady Rodgers, RHP
Rodgers was taken out of Arizona State, where he was a dominant starter and a consistent starter. Since being drafted, he has been average at best and overlooked by most Astros fans. However, in 2016 he is starting to put it all together and has been a dominant pitcher in his recent start. Though not on the 40 Man roster, he could maybe find his way to The Bigs soon. 2016 AAA Stats: 5-3, 68.1 innings, 2.90 ERA, 1.039 WHIP, 1.1 BB/9, 8.7 K/9
Round 4, Pick 129 – Rio Ruiz, 3B
Ruiz was considered an above-average bat and solid defense at the hot corner, but wasn’t in Houston long, as he was shipped out to Atlanta in the Evan Gattis trade in the 2014 Offseason. He is currently in AAA in the Braves’ System. 2016 AAA Stats: .255/.361/.359, 3 HRs, 18 RBIs, 31 BBs, 61 Ks
Round 5, Pick 159 – Andrew Aplin, CF
Like Rodgers, Aplin was also taken out of Arizona State. He doesn’t hit for high power but gets on base at an above average rate and is a better defensively than offensively. Currently in AAA, Aplin is struggling and a change of scenery might be his best chance to rebound. 2016 AAA Statline: .231/.320/.342, 3 HRs, 15 RBIs, 26 BBs, 46 Ks
Round 6, Pick 189 – Brett Phillips, CF
The player that most Astro fans will cringe at when you bring him up, Phillips was a Top Prospect who broke out all of a suddenly in 2015 with his power numbers skyrocketing. Fans were really excited to see Phillips in action until he was traded to the Brewers in the Carlos Gomez trade. For the sake of all Astros fans, I won’t say much more, though Phillips isn’t blowing AA out of the water, as he still has a lot more work to do to continue to move up in the system. 2016 AA Stats: .250/.336/.470, 9 HRs, 34 RBIs, 24 BBs, 74 Ks
Round 7, Pick 219 – Preston Tucker, OF
Tucker was drafted out of The University of Florida and isn’t the only member of his family in Minor League Baseball, as his brother Kyle is also in the Astros’ Minor League System. Tucker has a lot of power, not just for hitting HRs but for line drives as well. Tucker was called up in 2015 and made the Opening Day Roster in 2016, but was optioned back to AAA to fix his struggles at the plate. 2016 AAA Stats: .228/.295/.348, 2 HRs, 10 RBIs, 8 BBs, 21 Ks
Round 8, Pick 249 – Tyler Heineman, C
Heineman was drafted out of UCLA and while his future is uncertain, he could be an option for call up if Castro or Gattis gets injured in the near future. He doesn’t have the best bat in the system, but his defense alone could win him a backup catching job somewhere in baseball. 2016 AAA Stats: .240/.345/.330, 2 HRs, 8 RBIs, 14 BBs, 17 Ks
Round 9, Pick 279 – Daniel Minor, RHP
Minor was taken out of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and never was able to put it together with his time in the Astros system. When the Astros started stacking up on quality arms, Minor was quickly the forgotten man from the 2012 draft and was released early into the 2015 season.
Other Notables Picks from 2012 still in Astros system:
The Astros’ first draft under Jeff Luhnow can be written down as a success as the 1st 10 picks are all impact players with their respective teams. Only one player is currently not in baseball, and 7 of the 9 remaining are currently in AAA or higher. The 2012 draft has already seen 3 impact players make the Majors and the ones that haven’t made it in Houston offer the Astros some trade value that could come in the near future (or already has). All together, the 2012 draft was a success and the first of what is now 5 successful drafts under Jeff Luhnow, and the Astros likely aren’t done benefiting from it.
**Photo Credit: Richard Guill**