Goodbye For Now: Drew Ferguson and Riley Ferrell
Yesterday, the Astros’ farm system took a hit in the Rule 5 Draft when the San Francisco Giants selected Drew Ferguson and the Miami Marlins selected Riley Ferrell. Ferguson, a 26 year old outfielder was a 19th round pick by the Astros in the 2015 amateur draft. The top of that draft saw the Astros take guys like Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, but Drew Ferguson has proven in his time with the organization that he deserves some love too. Riley Ferrell was a 3rd round pick in the same draft out of TCU and his stuff already looks like a big league closer — he was rated by Baseball America as one of the top pitchers available in this year’s Rule 5 Draft.
In his roughly 3 and a half years in professional baseball, Ferguson has proven that he is a solid player and perhaps should have been taken in the amateur draft well before the 19th round. Across all 4 of his minor league seasons (including the short season he played after being drafted in 2015) Ferguson has hit a combined .297/.393/.455 in 350 games and 1278 ABs. That includes a phenomenal 2018 which, although shortened by injury, saw him hit .305/.436/.429 with 71 hits in only 65 games with AAA Fresno.
Drew primarily played center field in college but has played all three outfield spots in his time in professional ball. His get-on-base, light power hitting approach, however, is not ideally the type of production a big league club is looking for from its corner outfielders. Nonetheless, he has a chance to contribute to the San Francisco Giants in 2019 due to his extraordinary ability to put the bat on the baseball and get on base, regardless of his lack of home run power (hit just 4 HR in 2018).
Although he was not one of the flashiest prospects in the Astros’ organization, Drew Ferguson still has the potential to be one of the more impactful big league players when it is all said and done. Because the Giants selected him in the Rule 5 draft, he will be on their big league roster in 2019, so keep an eye out for him on the West Coast.
Ferrell also looks ready to produce at the big league level in 2019 and the Marlins likely have him in their plans for the back end of their bullpen. Riley’s minor league stats are not eye-popping, but he projects as a productive big league arm thanks to his high velocity fastball and power breaker.
Now these guys aren’t neccesarly gone for good. They will have to stick on the 25 man roster for the 2019 season or be returned back to the Astros. Luhnow and staff will continue to stock pile talented young players and we will continue to lose some now and then. We will miss these guys, but we can be encouraged by the strong farm system that the Astros have built.
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**Photo Credit: Tammy Tucker**