In baseball, many people preach never drafting for need. The impact of drafted players is typically too far away for the need to even matter. But over the last few years, one “need” in the Astros system has been left-handed pitching, and Houston has drafted a few recently. Most notable was the selection of Trey Dombroski.
On draft night 2022, the Astros selected Trey Dombroski with their fourth-round pick.
“I found out that I was being drafted by the Astros when my agent called me and said that they were potentially going to select me, and I wasn’t 100% certain they were selecting me until my name popped up on the draft tracker,” Dombroski said. “That moment for me was a moment like no other, because I was surrounded by the people that mean the most to me and have supported me since the beginning so it was awesome just to spend that moment with them.”
Sometimes the selection comes out of nowhere, but in this case, Dombroski knew the Astros had interest in him.
“I went to a workout prior to the draft for the Astros and was able to talk with some of the people in the front office and those in the scouting departments, which was an awesome experience to get to meet them and develop a relationship with them,” Dombroski said.
So the selection in the fourth round was no surprise for him.
Dombroski played his college baseball at a smaller school, Monmouth University in New Jersey. So while the school itself may not receive a ton of attention, one way for players to get in front of scouts is through summer leagues. One of the more premiere leagues, the Cape Cod League, is heavily scouted. Trey played there in 2021 and was absolutely dominant. He had a 0.85 ERA with two walks and 45 strikeouts in 31.2 innings.
This performance was big for him with so many scouts in attendance.
“With the opportunity of playing in Cape Cod, I feel like that was able to put me on the draft radar, because I was able to play against the best of the best and was able to get myself in front of scouts,” Dombroski said.
He was also able to take that experience playing against the best and turn in a great junior season, where he had 14 walks and 120 strikeouts in 95 innings for Monmouth.
“I was able to command four different pitches and my teammates and coaches were there for me to give me confidence and taught me to rely on the stuff that I am really good at and just go out there and have fun,” Dombroski said. “This helped me prepare for my junior season at Monmouth, because I knew that I was going to have to rely on my command and IQ to get hitters out, and it also gave me the confidence to go out there and just pitch my game and trust the guys behind me.”
But going from the Cape Cod League and Monmouth University to professional baseball is definitely an adjustment. While the competition is stiffer, there were benefits for Dombroski in pro ball.
“The biggest difference between college and pro ball for me so far is that you get the opportunity to throw at least once a week and that you are able to develop a really good routine,” Dombroski said.
Dombroski isn’t a pitcher that is going to blow you away, but he commands multiple pitches really well and knows how to attack hitters. He described his pitching style as “a guy who relies on command, is not predictable, can throw different pitches at different times and is always trying to develop into a better pitcher.”
Lastly, in professional baseball, development is key. Performance is needed, but the continued development is what is going to keep you around and get you moved up. Dombroski has been working with the Astros staff since being drafted.
“We have been working on gaining velocity and trying to sharpen all of my pitches to help me become the best pitcher possible. It has been awesome so far and I am really enjoying the process of trying to become a better all-around pitcher,” Dombroski said.
With the lack of left-handed pitching depth in the system and the constant need for arms at the big league level, Dombroski could continue to see his stock rise. Combine that with his 39 strikeouts in 26 professional innings this season and he could be one of the next prospects to make an impact in the Astros organization.