Ranked 44 by Keith Law, 46 by Baseball America and 51 by John Sickels, the Astros selecting Nolan Fontana at the 61st spot is a fantastic pick. Yes, the Astros did select a shortstop already, with the first overall pick in this years draft, but an organization should never draft for need and should be drafting the best player available. For the Astros that was Fontana regardless of what positions are left on the board and what they've already taken.
So who is the Astros second round selection? He's the Florida Gators junior starting shortstop and leadoff man. If you want to get a closer look at him, Florida is currently in post season play fighting for a spot in the College World Series. Florida will be playing NC State this weekend, June 9-11, on ESPNU. Saturday's game starts at 1:00 p.m. CST, Sunday 12:00 p.m. and if necessary Monday at 12:00 p.m. CST.
Offensively, he's an on base guy with doubles power. He posted a .290/.414/.470 line during the regular season. There are some concerns about his ability to hit at the professional level, however, his approach at the plate should help him compensate some of those concerns. He's got good speed and has improved his base stealing this year with 11 steals in 12 chances.
Defensively, I'm seeing mixed reviews. The guys covering the draft on MLB.com, Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, have some questions about his ability to stick at short. Keith Law on the other hand thinks he has the ability to stick at short. Watching him play in the SEC tournament he looked above average at short and I remember one specific play where I let out an unintentional "Wow", so I am leaning more towards Law's assessment on whether or not he can stick at short.
Utility infielder at the big league level.
Another ceiling of mine courtesy of OremLK (he's a smart dude when it comes to this stuff), Marco Scutaro.
Will The Astros Sign Him?
I don't see any issues with the Astros signing him.
Bibliography after the jump
46. Nolan Fontana, ss, Florida
Reliable glove with patient offensive approach.
Fontana is a bit of a favorite of mine as a true shortstop with great instincts and plenty of arm as well as a strong approach at the plate that has led to high on-base percentages both years at Florida.
Excellent glove, gets on base, some question if he'll hit enough at higher levels to be a regular, but a sure bet to reach the majors at least as a bench guy.
Fontana’s ceiling is dependent on how he advances as a hitter. You never want to see a college hitter who fails to crack .300 AND hits for little power, but somehow he makes it work. He’s shown a little pop, slugging five homers last season, and four already through the team’s first 25 games this season, but that will never be a part of his game.