Like this pick. Aplin has one elite skill in his defensive abilities out in center field. He's got good instincts out there and the skill set to be an asset defensively. Even if he doesn't hit, that makes him valuable in the minors and could even push him to the majors as a defensive replacement backup.
Aplin is the second Astros draftee out of Arizona State, so they must have liked what they saw in that scouting trip. He's not got a lot of power, but you've seen a bit of an upswing in that, even with the new bats. Aplin had one career homer coming into this season, but hit six in 2012 with the new BBCOR bats.
Check out the commercial for ASU baseball below the jump. Not only is Aplin funny, but he's poking fun at himself. That makes me like him instantly.
You could see this as a pick Houston needed to make because they drafted some hard signs before now, but I don't exactly buy that. Aplin plays up the middle, which we know Bobby Heck values and he has one skill that will play at the next level. Finding major league abilities in the fifth round is hard and doesn't happen all the time. Combine that with the possibility to save on the signing bonus and this looks like a solid pick.
What's more, he had a 27-13 walk to strikeout rate this season and was successful on eight of 10 stolen base attempts. Both of those are good signs for him providing other value as a bench player later on, but if he can hit maybe .270, he could work himself into a big league regular.
I'd see someone like Steve Finley with less speed. He won't steal 40 bases, but I could see him going .260-.270 with a .340 OBP and 20 steals as a regular. That's not an All-Star, but if Houston had this guy in the system reaching that ceiling, they wouldn't have NEEDED to get a CF to replace Bourn.
Will he sign?
Bibliography after the jump
Andrew Aplin drilled a three-run homer down the right-field line in the second inning Wednesday night, lifting No. 14 Arizona State baseball to a 4-2 non-conference win over UNLV.
Aplin hit his second homer of the season on a 1-0 pitch from Buddy Borden (0-2), helping ASU to erase a 2-0 deficit at Packard Stadium. Kasey Coffman, Beau Maggi and Michael Benjamin all singled with one out ahead of Aplin with Coffman scoring the Sun Devils' first run on a fielding error by center fielder Mark Shannon.
Baseball America (from his HS days)
I’ve liked Aplin since I watched his first batting practice in Minneapolis. A lefthanded hitting outfielder, Aplin plays the game hard and swings the bat well. He makes consistent contact and drives the ball to all fields. Aplin is listed at 6-feet, 190 pounds and has been playing center field. However, he registers 60-times between 6.7 and 6.8 and gets down the first base line around 4.35 seconds. Thus, he runs OK but probably not well enough to play center field at the next level. If he can’t play center field, then Aplin may have positional profile question marks as his power projection may not be good enough to play a corner outfield position. However, I like Aplin because he can really hit and plays the game hard. You may look at his stats from the T.O.S and say, he only has one hit in eight at-bats, but he has put the ball in play every time, and the ball seems to always find his bat’s barrel.