Houston Astros 2015 Draft: Where Are They Now?
This week I am moving on to the 2015 draft. While the Astros didn’t have the #1 overall pick, they ended up with possibly an all-time great and some other quality players. Here are the top 10 picks and other notables.
Previous Draft Reviews:
Round 1, Pick 2 – Alex Bregman, SS
For as bad as a debacle as the 2014 draft was, the 2015 draft easily made up for it with this one selection. The Diamondbacks had the first pick and selected Dansby Swanson. The Astros were awarded the #2 overall pick after failing to sign Brady Aiken in 2014. This led to the selection of the best player currently on the Astros roster, Alex Bregman. Bregman blew through the minor league system. After his debut following the draft, he was ranked the #22 prospect in baseball by MLB. Bregman started the 2016 season in the minors but hit .306/.406/.580 with 20 HR in 80 games before he was eventually called up.
Bregman has consistently improved each year going from a 125 OPS+ in 2017 to a 152 OPS+ in 2018 to a career high 162 OPS+ in 2019 as he finished #2 in the AL MVP voting (he also finished with a career high 9.1 bWAR). He has also performed at the highest level hitting 10 HR and drawing 28 walks in 44 playoff games. Bregman has been a game changer for the Astros, and he is just getting started. Career WAR: 22.4
Round 1, Pick 5 – Kyle Tucker, OF
Tucker was selected #5 overall out of high school. Tucker quickly became one of the Astros top prospects and had his first breakout year in 2016 when he hit .285 with 32 SB in 117 games. The next season he improved to a .874 OPS and 33 2B, 25 HR in 120 games between A+/AA. Tucker has played in AAA the last two seasons posting an OPS over .900 with 30+ HR in both years, including 34 HR, 30 SB in 2019. He has played in 50 MLB games and has a .652 OPS including a .857 OPS in 22 games in 2019. Career WAR: 0.0
Round 1, Pick 37 – Daz Cameron, OF
Like Tucker, Cameron was also selected out of high school. He took a while to get going but finally had a breakout year in 2017 posting a .815 OPS with 14 HR, 32 SB in 120 games. The Astros were able to flip Cameron (with Franklin Perez and Jake Rogers) for Justin Verlander in August of 2017. The rest is history, literally. Cameron in AAA in 2019 and had a .707 OPS. The Astros, as we all know, wen out to win the 2017 World Series. Career WAR: Has not made MLB debut.
Round 2, Pick 46 – Tom Eshelman, RHP
Eshelman seemed like a safe pick to be a solid prospect. He came out of college after walking 7 in 137 innings. Yes… 7! Eshelman was quickly traded in the off-season prior to 2017 in a the deal that landed Ken Giles. He pitched with the Phillies until the middle of 2019 where he was traded to the Orioles. He made his MLB debut with the Orioles in 2019 posting a 6.50 ERA in 10 outings. Career WAR: -0.4
Round 3, Pick 79 – Riley Ferrell, RHP
Ferrell was a dominant reliever in college and some even pegged him as a guy who could be the first to debut this class. He was solid following the draft and was solid in 2017 too (3.81 ERA). In 2018 he had a 4.53 ERA between AA and AAA and was subsequently drafted by the Marlins in the Rule 5 Draft. He spent some time with Miami before being returned to Houston to finish the season with a 3.65 ERA overall. Career WAR: Has not made MLB debut.
Round 4, Pick 109 – Anthony Hermelyn, C
Hermelyn was a solid college producer at the catcher position but he was unable to carry that over to professional baseball. He played three seasons in the Astros minor league system and hit .227 with .636 overall before being released. He played in Independent baseball the last couple seasons.. Career WAR: Did not reach MLB.
Round 5, Pick 139 – Trent Thornton, RHP
Thornton was a favorite of mine following the draft, and he turned in some solid seasons. In 2016 between A+ and AA he posted a 3.52 ERA with 21 BB/124 K in 135.2 innings. He struggled in 2017 posting a 5.21 ERA between AA and AAA. He was better in 2019 but was eventually traded for Aledmys Diaz in November 2018. He made his MLB debut in 2019 and had 149 K in 154.1 innings with a 4.84 ERA for Toronto. Career WAR: 1.7
Round 6, Pick 169 – Nestor Muriel, OF
Muriel was drafted out of the Carlos Beltran Academy in Puerto Rico. at just 16 years old. Unfortunately he never made it out of rookie ball and hit just .137 in 62 career minor league games. Career WAR: did not reach MLB
Round 7, Pick 199 – Michael Freeman, LHP
Freeman was drafted out of Oklahoma State University after a solid campaign in 2015. He pitched for relief for the Astros and had a 1.17 ERA following the draft in 2015. He made it to AA and posted a 6.09 ERA in two seasons. MiLB doesn’t show Freeman to be released bu he last pitched in the Astros system in 2017. Career WAR: did not reach MLB
Round 8, Pick 229 – Garrett Stubbs, C
Stubbs has been a nice surprise as an 8th round pick out of USC. Stubbs had a dominant 2016 season slashing .304/.391/.469 with 20 HR, 15 SB across two levels. He has been solid with the bat in his minor league career and hit .272 over 372 minor league games. He debuted for the Astros in 2019 and played in 19 games. Career WAR: 0.1
Round 9, Pick 259 – Zac Person, LHP
Person only pitched in the Astros system for two seasons before being relegated to Independent baseball. He finished his brief minor league career with a 4.52 ERA in 39 games. Career WAR: did not reach MLB
Round 10, Pick 289 – Scott Weathersby, RHP
Like Person, Weathersby didn’t last long only pitching 41 games in the Astros minor league system across two seasons. He finished with a 4.60 ERA in 129 innings. Career WAR: did not reach MLB
Round 11, Pick 319 – Patrick Sandoval, LHP
Sandoval was drafted out of high school and had a solid 2017 season, but really broke out in 2018. He finished the season with a 2.06 ERA and 145 K in 122.1 innings but was traded to the Angels during the season for Martin Maldanado. Sandoval made his way up to the MLB level last year and struck out 42 in 39.1 innings with a 5.03 ERA. Career WAR: 0.4
Round 12, Pick 349 – Myles Straw, OF
The moment Straw was drafted he probably became the fastest baserunner in the Astros system. But his bat stood out early on when he hit .358 in 87 games in 2015. The next two seasons he would hit .290 and .291 with OBPs of .405 and .381 respectively, including 70 SB in 2018. Straw played in 9 games in 2018 but made more of an impact in 2019 playing in 56 games and hitting .269. Straw figures to be the 4th/5th outfielder for the Astros in the 2020 season. Career WAR: 1.2
Round 19, Pick 559 – Drew Ferguson, OF
Ferguson has been a consistent performer throughout his minor league career including 2016 where he slashed .315/.408/.542 with 17 HR, 30 SB in 105 games. He played at AAA the next couple seasons before being selected by the Giants in the Rule 5 Draft. He was returned to the Astros in 2019 and posted a .836 OPS in 115 games in AAA. Career WAR: has not reached MLB.
**Photo Credit: Getty Images**