Without knowing where all the Type A and B free agents end up, it's impossible to know exactly which overall picks Houston will have (other than, of course, having the #1 overall). I wanted to get a sample of what kind of players we can expect from those 1st 4 picks. Somewhat arbitrarily, I chose pick 33 for the Supplemental pick, pick 34 for the 2nd rd pick, and pick 65 for their 3rd rd pick. I went back and looked at who had been chosen with those picks in the drafts from 2003-2007; I figured this was far enough back to have a pretty good idea of what kind of players they panned out to be, but not so far back as to make the sample too arduous to compile. I also went back and looked at Houston's recent drafts to see who they've picked in each round. Here's what it looks like:
#1 Overall- Obviously, there have been a lot of great players drafted from this position over the years. From Strawberry to A Rod to Mauer to Strasburg, this pick has proven it can change the course of a franchise's history. That said, it's not a sure thing.
The 2003-2007 #1 overall picks were Delmon Young, Matt Bush, Justin Upton, Luke Hochevar, and David Price. That's a solid outfielder, a middle reliever, an all star, a 4th starter, and an ace pitcher. So the range is there. The 2012 draft doesn't appear to have a clearcut #1 overall pick, which could change between now and June, but Houston really needs to nail this pick. For grins, Houston's 1st round picks over the past 4 years are Jason Castro, Jio Mier, Delino DeShields, Jr., Mike Foltynewicz, and George Springer.
#33 Overall- The #33 pick was not kind during the '03-'07 drafts. It produced Jon Gilmore, Emmanuel Burriss, John Drennan, Justin Orenduff, and Omar Quintanilla. Not exacly a HOF roster. The baseball cube lists the best player ever drafted #33 overall as Jeff Heaverlo. Ouch. Still, many, MANY stars have been drafted after the 33rd pick. Supplemental picks taken by the current Astros FO are Jordan Lyles and Mike Kvasnicka.
#34- '03-'07 featured Todd Frazier, Brooks Brown, Ryan Tucker, Tyler LUmsden, and Craig Whittaker. Best player ever taken #34? Mark Gubicza. Houston's 2nd rd picks since '08 were Jay Austin, Tanner Bushue, Vince Velasquez, and Adrian Houser.
#65- Now here's a ray of light. In 2004, Dustin Pedroia was the 65th player taken in the draft. Other players taken 65th in our sample time frame are Wil Kline, Drew Carpenter, Mike Costanzo, and Stuart Pomeranz. Houston's 3rd rounders since '08 were Ross Seaton, Jon Meyer, Telvin Nash, Austin Wates, and Jack Armstrong, Jr.
So what does this tell us? Well, for me, it was sobering. It tells me that, unlike hte NFL and NBA, the MLB draft is pretty much a crapshoot and drafting higher pales in comparison to drafting smarter. Houston can increase their odds of getting production by going over slot, but the bottom line is that it's unrealistic to count on the 2012 draft to singlehandedly bring the Astros out of the cellar.