Houston Astros 2016 Draft: Where Are They Now?
This week I am moving on to the 2016 draft. The Astros had the #17 pick, and while it’s still early, they were able to get some solid minor league prospects. Here are the top 10 picks and other notables.
Previous Draft Reviews:
Round 1, Pick 17 – Forrest Whitley, RHP
Whitley was drafted out of Alamo Heights HS in San Antonio. It didn’t take him long to shoot up the rankings. After a decent showing following the draft where he struck out 26 in 18.2 innings, he had a breakout 2017 season. In 2017, he made it all the way to AA at just 19 years old in his first full season joining Kershaw, Bundt, Greinke, and Billingsley as the only ones to do it. Whitley posted a 2.83 ERA with 143 K in 92.1 innings leading to his ranking as the #10 prospect pre-2018 by Baseball America. Unfortunately, since that season he has struggled to find that success. A suspension for a violation of the drug prevention program. He also has dealt with a fair share of injuries to this point. He struggled in 2019 posting a 7.99 ERA. He pitched well in the AZ fall league and many expected big things from him in 2020. On the bright side, he is just 22 years old and still has time to figure it out. Career WAR: Has not reached MLB.
Round 2, Pick 61 – Ronnie Dawson, OF
Dawson came into the Astros system following a really good junior year at Ohio State where he slashed .331/.419/.611. He was seen as a power speed outfielder, and he has done that so far. He hit 14 HR and stole 18 bases in 2017, then hit 16 HR and stole 35 bases in 2018. He really struggled in 2019 though hitting just .207 with .698 OPS. He is a very good defensive outfielder so that could get him a shot at some point, but he has to make more contact to really get the opportunity. Career WAR: Has not reached MLB.
Round 3, Pick 97 – Jake Rogers, C
Rogers was drafted out of Tulane University and was seen as a catcher who was great with the glove but needed to improve with the bat. The improvement came quick as he had 18 HR and 70 RBI in 110 games in 2017 before being traded for Justin Verlander. He has been a boom or bust kind of guy since the trade and did make his MLB debut in 2019 but hit .167 in 13 games. Career WAR: -0.5
Round 4, Pick 127 – Brett Adcock, LHP
Adcock was a solid college pitcher but had some serious control issues when he was drafted. He improved and had a 3.93 ERA in 2017 with 117 K in 107.2 innings. After posting a 2.89 ERA in 2018, Adcock struggled to get it going in 2019 posting a 6.90 ERA in AA. Adcock is 24 years old and still in the Astros system. Career WAR: Has not reached MLB.
Round 5, Pick 157 – Abraham Toro, 3B
Toro was a little known prospect due to him playing Seminole State College in Oklahoma. The Astros used a 5th round pick on him and it has paid off so far. Toro had a good season in 2018 but really broke out in 2019 when he slashed .324/.411/.527 with 17 HR and 80 RBI between AA and AAA. He was eventually promoted to the MLB where he had a .688 OPS in 25 games. Career WAR: 0.2
Round 6, Pick 187 – Stephen Wrenn, OF
Wrenn was seen as a high upside pick in the draft and showed his abilities following the draft when he had 12 HR, 39 RBI, 15 SB in 71 games. He hasn’t gotten back to this level of play but has had a solid minor league career as a good defender and baserunner. He played in AA and AAA in 2019 and had a .750 OPS. Career WAR: Has not reached MLB
Round 7, Pick 217 – Tyler Buffett, RHP
Buffett was drafted by the Astros but he didn’t sign and opted to go back to college. While he improved his draft selection in 2017, his college numbers got a lot worse. In 2018 he was drafted in the 6th round by the Reds and missed all of 2019, assuming due to injury. Career WAR: Has not reached MLB
Round 8, Pick 247 – Nick Hernandez, RHP
Hernandez was a local product from Dulles HS (Sugarland) and attended the University of Houston. He dominated following the draft with a 1.73 ERA. He was solid in 2017 but got hurt and missed all of the 2018 season. He came back in 2019 and had a 4.02 ERA with 37 K in 31.1 innings. Career WAR: Has not reached MLB
Round 9, Pick 277 – Ryan Hartman, LHP
Hartman came out of nowhere and after a solid couple minor league seasons, he dominated AA in 2018. That season he had a 2.69 ERA with 26 BB/143 K in 120.2 innings. He pitched in AAA in 2019 and while he had a high ERA (5.84) he struck out 117 in 115.2 innings. I’m interested to see how he performs this season. Career WAR: Has not reached MLB
Round 10, Pick 307 – Dustin Hunt, RHP
Hunt was the Astros 10th round pick but only pitched in 105 innings before being released. He was signed by the Dodgers and pitched 3 innings in High-A in 2018. He hasn’t pitched since. Career WAR: Has not reached MLB
Round 19, Pick 577 – Taylor Jones, 1B
Jones has been the steal of the draft. After starting slow, he has been very good offensively over the last two seasons. After posting a .854 OPS in 2018, he followed that up with a .889 OPS in AAA in 2019. This included 22 HR, 84 RBI. He looks like a guy that will get a shot in the MLB in the near future. Career WAR: Has not reached MLB
**Photo Credit: Joe Dwyer**