Houston Astros 2012 Draft: Where Are They Now?
With everything going on right now, and no potential start date in sight, I decided we could look back at past drafts to see where the draftees are today. Some are pros, some are in the minors, and some are out of baseball completely. I did a review of the 2012 draft back in 2016. Now that it is 2020, there has been plenty of time in between that we can look at the draft again.
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. This drafted really pushed the Astros forward in the rebuild and helped them win a World Series in 2017. 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 fulfilled his potential as a prospect and was one of the best prospects in baseball before his call-up. Correa has put together a couple really good seasons but has struggled with injuries that has prevented him from playing more than 110 games each of the last three seasons. Overall for his career he has a .845 OPS, 129 OPS+ and has accumulated 24.5 WAR in 546 career games. Correa hasn’t reached his ceiling yet and is still just 25 years old.
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. Like Correa, McCullers lived up to the hype as a prospect and eventually made his MLB debut in 2015. He has been electric when on the mound but dealt with a few injuries, most recently Tommy John Surgery which sidelined him for the entire 2019 season. He is back now and should be ready roll when the 2020 season starts. McCullers owns a career 3.67 ERA (3.24 FIP) with 509 K in 453.2 innings.
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. After a decent showing early in his minor league career he struggled to hit consistently. He was eventually claimed off waivers by the Angels in 2016. He played in the Angels system in 2017 and 2018 and actually made his MLB debut in 2017. Overall he played in 35 games but went just 2-for-31. He was released by the Angels, signed by the Rangers, and then later released by the Rangers.
Round 3, Pick 96 – Brady Rodgers, RHP
Rodgers was taken out of Arizona State, where he was a very good starting pitcher. Following the draft Rodgers put up some pretty good seasons eventually making his MLB debut in 2016 (8.1 innings). Rodgers had Tommy John Surgery in 2017 and missed the majority of the 2017 and 2018 season. He rehabbed and came back to the Astros, and appeared in games for the Astros in 2019 but was eventually released in August. He has since signed a minor league deal with the Orioles.
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. Ruiz made his way through the Braves system and debuted in 2016. He was back in forth between AAA and MLB for the next couple of seasons before playing in 127 games for the Orioles in 2019 (81 OPS+).
Round 5, Pick 159 – Andrew Aplin, CF
Like Rodgers, Aplin was also taken out of Arizona State. Aplin put up some solid seasons in the Astros minor league system capping out at AAA in 2017 when he was traded to the Mariners. Aplin was in Seattle’s system for a couple seasons before electing free agency and signing with the Diamondbacks. He played in Reno (AAA) until about mid-May when he was released. He was picked up by Lancaster of the Atlantic League (Independent).
Round 6, Pick 189 – Brett Phillips, CF
Phillips was an exciting prospect who had a breakout 2014 season. He started the 2015 season well and then was one of the pieces that helped acquire Mike Fiers….. and Carlos Gomez. He made his way through the system and debuted in 2017. He has been up and down between 2017 and 2018 before being traded to KC for Moustakas. In 2019 he spent 30 games with the Royals but only a .508 OPS.
Round 7, Pick 219 – Preston Tucker, OF
Tucker was drafted out of The University of Florida and has since been passed up by his younger brother, Kyle. Tucker was a power bat and was called up in 2015 and hit 13 HR in 98 games. He spent part of the 2016 season with the Astros but was eventually designated for assignment and ultimately traded to the Braves in 2017. He has spent time with Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Chicago White Sox system before playing in Korea in 2019.
Round 8, Pick 249 – Tyler Heineman, C
Heineman was drafted out of UCLA and played in the Astros system for four seasons before being traded to Milwaukee in 2017. After a year with the Brewers he elected free agency and signed with the Diamondbacks and was later traded to Miami. He was called up in 2019 to make his major league debut and hit .273 in 5 games. Prior to the 2020 season he signed with the Giants on a minor league deal.
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.
Round 10, Pick 309 – Joe Bircher, LHP
Bircher didn’t last long in the Astros system as he was released in 2014 after throwing just 143 innings. He was picked up in Independent Baseball and played there for five seasons.
**Photo Credit: Richard Guill**