So for kicks, I've taken a look back at who the Astros took in 2012 and have tried to identify similars among the 4-year college players who are eligible to be drafted this time around.
I began by scouring the leagues where the Astros figured to have had a heavy presence as they scouted candidates for the #1 overall selection - this ended up mostly being the Pac 12, Big 12, and ACC as there wasn't much to see in Kris Bryant's conference. I specifically sought players whose statistical and scouting profiles (including positional ratings and physiological builds) matched the sorts that I believe the front office has prioritized based upon the results of their 2012 draft. I then expanded the search outward to a few other leagues and did similarly, reviewing perhaps 8 leagues inclusive of the originals. And then I elevated or lowered players based on how they performed under the Astros' scouting microscope and how they would stand to fit into the organization's current depth charts.
A year ago the Astros drafted 26 4-year college players among their 41 selections and all but 3 signed : 20th round LHP Michael Clark - Kent State, 24th round SS Pat Blair - Wake Forest, and 27th round CF Tanner Mathis - Mississippi. Clark likely sustained some sort of injury, making only 2 appearances in 2013. Blair is an extreme walker with some contact issues who rates rather highly among SS prospects this time around and would stand to be taken before the Astros would be willing to pull the trigger on him. Mathis had a down senior season but could perhaps be in line for a late round selection if the Astros still see something there. None of these 3 wound up making my final list.
The final list is 39 players who I see as having some potential to be selected with picks #2 through 40. I've listed them below in the approximate order in which they stand to be selected in the draft (if at all for some). Their Baseball Cube page can be accessed by clicking on their names:
Sean Manaea, LHP, Jr, Indiana State KC Round 1-CB, #34 Overall Kevin Ziomek, LHP, Jr, Vanderbilt DET Round 2, #58 Overall
Kent Emanuel, LHP, Jr, North Carolina HOU Round 3, #74 Overall
Tom Windle, LHP, Jr, Minnesota LAD Round 2, #56 Overall Jacob Hanneman, OF, RFr, Brigham Young CHC Round 3, #75 Overall Chad Pinder, 3B, Jr, Virginia Tech OAK Round 2-CB, #71 Overall Tyler Horan, OF, Jr, Virginia Tech SF Round 8, #252 Overall Jared King, OF, Jr, Kansas State NYM Round 5, #146 Overall Ryon Healy, 1B/3B, Jr, Oregon OAK Round 3, #100 Overall Tyler Skulina, RHP, Jr, Kent State CHC Round 4, #108 Overall Buck Farmer, RHP, Sr, Georgia Tech DET Round 5, #156 Overall Matt Boyd, LHP, Sr, Oregon State TOR Round 6, #175 Overall Mike Mayers, RHP, Jr, Mississippi STL Round 3, #93 Overall Barrett Astin, RHP, Jr, Arkansas MIL Round 3, #90 Overall
Conrad Gregor, 1B/OF, Jr, Vanderbilt HOU Round 4, #107 Overall
Matt Oberste, OF, Jr, Oklahoma NYM Round 7, #206 Overall Spencer Navin, C, Jr, Vanderbilt LAD Round 11, #334 Overall Ross Kivett, 2B, Jr, Kansas State CLE Round 10, #291 Overall Zach Godley, RHP, Sr, Tennessee CHC Round 10, #288 Overall Harrison Musgrave, LHP, RSo, West Virginia PHI Round 33, #991 Overall Austin Voth, RHP, Jr, Washington WAS Round 5, #166 Overall Johnny Field, OF/2B, Jr, Arizona TBR Round 5, #158 Overall
Jake Rodriguez, C, Jr, Oregon State HOU Round 19, #557 Overall
Brandon Dixon, 3B, Jr, Arizona LAD Round 3, #92 Overall Kasey Coffman, OF, Jr, Arizona State DET Round 10, #306 Overall
Brian Holberton, OF/C, Jr, North Carolina HOU Round 9, #257 Overall
Thomas Lindauer, SS, Jr, Illinois HOU Round 23, #677 Overall
Jake Stinnett, RHP, Jr, Maryland PIT Round 29, #869 Overall
Cale Elam, RHP, Jr, Wichita State - Undrafted
J. T. Riddle, SS, Jr, Kentucky MIA Round 13, #382 Overall Conner Kendrick, LHP, Jr, Auburn NYY Round 9, #284 Overall Forrestt Allday, OF, Sr, Central Arkansas BOS Round 8, #233 Overall Jonathan Dziedzic, LHP, RJr, Lamar KC Round 13, #384 Overall Kyle Lloyd, RHP, Sr, Evansville SD Round 29, #868 Overall Trevor Foss, RHP, Sr, Texas A&M Corpus Christi LAA Round 22, #667 Overall
Dan Savas, RHP, RSo, Illinois State - Undrafted
Jayce Ray, OF, Sr, Washington - Undrafted
Anthony Azar, C, Jr, Sam Houston State - Undrafted
Darian Johnson, OF, Sr, Lamar CHW Round 32, #963 Overall
In theory, with 29 other clubs drafting from the same pool and the Astros likely taking about 25 4-year college players I should hit on no more than 1 of those college picks. But let's see if I can beat that number using this approach.