By most accounts the Astros were the top dogs after day one of the MLB Draft. Houston took Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker in the top five picks of the draft and they hope to flex their gigantic pool of draft money and sign the 37th pick overall Daz Cameron. An overwhelming success for Jeff Luhnow and his staff if they're able to sign everyone. Now let's ask the TCB staff what they thought of the draft.
What are your thoughts about the Astros 2015 Draft? Favorite pick? Least favorite pick?
I loved it. I loved it for the top three, and then I loved it more for getting who they got after those guys. Those three, of course, limited what they could do from that point on, yet they still got some upside. Inline with that, Nestor Muriel is my favorite pick. Ultra-young, great tools across the board. This is the type of guy you don't expect to get when you're saving to try to sign three of the top ten prospects in the draft, yet there he is. If they can get one of either Patrick Sandoval or Cole Sands in addition, this draft will be just incredible. My least favorite pick, I guess I'll go with Kody Clemens, just because he was clearly unsignable, and so they basically tossed a pick away for no good reason. But at that stage in the draft, it's no big deal.
Having two of the top five picks you would expect them to have a great haul, and they did. The Bregman pick raises a few questions, namely, are the Astros planning on moving Correa to third in the near future? Do they envision Bregman as a third-basemen and have they mostly given up on Moran? Is Bregman ultimately going to be used as a trade chip?
I thought Brendan Rodgers made more sense as a pick in this respect. He will likely take more development time in the minors, which gives the Astros more time to evaluate Correa as a major league shortstop. Rodgers was also said to have the highest ceiling of all the shortstops drafted, a type of player the Astros can afford to gamble on since they have a deep farm system. Perhaps since Bregman has less leverage coming out of college the front office figured he would be a quicker sign, so they could nab Daz Cameron while avoiding another Brady Aiken-esque scenario. Either way the team did well for itself.
My favorite pick was Daz Cameron, He's the type of athletic outfielder the Astros could use at centerfield, and good insurance at the position of Marisnick's bat continues to flounder. An outfield of Tucker, Cameron, and Springer could be very good.
Least favorite pick? Who cares what the Astros got in the later rounds, 2015 is all about the big three. Anything else out of this draft would just be a bonus.
I know I am going to get butchered by saying this but my least favorite pick was Daz. The reason is I felt like we got handicapped the rest of the draft. I still felt like we got some decent choices after him but mainly felt they were only choices that would bring back max dollars to help pay for Daz. Now I think Daz is a fine player, IMO a 15-20 range pick not a top 5 money guy. Liked the Bregman pick, loved the Tucker pic. I honestly think Daz is used for trade bait to land us a good piece when we are in the playoff hunt. I think Daz ends up a decent player but was he worth the higher end talent that Luhnow seems to find in the HS ranks in the first eleven rounds, or someone like Kirby or Matuella to help bolster our pitching, I'm not sure. I might have preferred Betts to help improve our catching depth or someone like Trey Cabbage for some 3B talent.
This draft has the potential to be historic, and I say that without hyperbole. It is literally unprecedented. Alex Bregman was my favorite target in the draft, a college shortstop who the metrics love, and he's a Tiger for gosh sakes. My dream scenario was Bregman at 1-2 and Tucker at 1-5. I got my wish. When it became apparent that Cameron would fall to 37, and then the Astros actually took him (which wasn't necessarily a given), the haul moved towards hilarity. The amount of the Astros bonus pool, supplemented from not signing Brady Aiken last year, was so large that it ought to be the cause of some restructuring of the collective bargaining agreement during the next talks. Instead of Aiken with the 1-1 pick last year, the CBA allowed the Astros to land three Top 10 draft talents this year, a situation which could have been easily foreseen once 2012 showed how the top drafting teams can wield their bonus allocations to make pre-draft deals and land top talents in the supplemental or second round. The 2015 draft shows that there is incentive to leave a top pick unsigned, and in future weak drafts followed by projected strong ones, it's something another team could take advantage of.
Outside of the obvious top three, my favorite pick was Thomas Eshelman in round two. What do the Astros do after drafting three top ten talents? They go grab a starting pitcher who literally has the best control in the history of NCAA baseball. This guy makes Joe Musgrove look wild. I saw scouts put a 70 on his command and an 80 on his control. That's like grading a batter with 70 plate discipline and 80 contact. Since I've always leaned towards "floor" players rather than "ceiling" players, I loved this pick and the Astros' college-heavy draft in general. The Astros' 2012 draft was the most impressive draft I can remember. This one could and should leave it in the dust.
My least favorite pick was Kody Clemens. He'll almost certainly go to college, so this was more a nod to his father than anything. I'd have rather gone with a player who would actually sign, because at least then there's an opportunity for that player to blossom under instruction and become a role player, and there are plenty of unsigned guys who would have gladly signed for the opportunity.
Let me begin with my least favorite pick. Yes, concurring here with the group: Kody Clemens. I want to add, though it's a burning hot can of worms, that I don't much *want* to do things in honor or support of Papa Clemens. Papa Biggio, yes, all day long. Draft his offspring, name things after him, let him in front of you at the froyo bar, leave everything in the will if you want. But not Papa Clemens. Papa Clemens and his K-offspring are on their collective own, in my ideal world.
I don't have a favorite pick but I suppose since I totally support the strategy, I'll go with Cameron. It was a risk forming a strategy around him (and I do believe that's what they were doing, at least in part), especially since he might not sign of course. You never know. But it's nice to have a nice, young high-ceiling guy in the mix.
Which brings me to my biggest surprise -- the focus on college guys. I really thought that given the strength of the team and the depth of the system that they would disproportionately go for young high school guys. I really got that wrong, by a country kilometer or two. This is where my trust for the front office kicks in, though. Go get 'em, guys, and I'm looking forward to watching these guys baseball their merry ways through the system.
I love this draft. I think the first 3 picks alone can make it a banner year. With that said, I reiterate what I always say - who knows!?!? Drafts are a gamble. But if these guys stay healthy, continue to develop as they have been and keep their focus, 2015 could be a year we all look back on and say, "Wow!" Alex Bregman is an incredible talent and I'm very glad he lands with Houston. With his age and ability, I wonder what the long term plan is with him and Correa, but the idea that the Astros will have choices at shortshop warms my southern heart.
When the Astros drafted Daz Cameron, I felt old, but elated. Heaven knows that kid has the genes to succeed in this game and if he can do it with the Astros organization? All the better.
To round out the triple crown of the first 3 picks, Kyle Tucker? Seriously, this kid has serious power and that's at his current height without a lot of size. I look forward to seeing what happens when he fills out. But he's another player that gives you thought of what will happen in the future when this right fielder hits the majors and George Springer is still the starter. Again, a fantastic problem for the Astros' front office to have.
As for what I call the "courtesy picks?" I like that the Astros selected the sons of Biggio and Clemens. I like that I cheer for a team who shows a little loyalty and supports their former players in this way. I know that Clemens is headed to UT and won't sign. I know that Biggio was a late round pick and the odds are against him, but didn't it make all of Houston smile that day? The Astros threw a little love at Houston and I like that.
Overall - the Astros killed it with this year's draft.
Chris brought up something I just want to comment on; the comparison between what we would have had last year, and what waiting until this one ultimately netted us.
Remember that Aiken refused the reduced amount that would have allowed us to nab him, Nix and Marshall. So if we had given in last year, we would have come away with Aiken (who just had Tommy John) and Nix, and the rest of the class we got last year. We would not have had the #2 pick this year, or it's slot money ($7,420,100). We would have had the fifth overall and the comp pick, which combined is $5,857,300. Now some reports have said that Cameron might be asking for a little less than five million, but even if true, you can't believe it would be so much less that we'd be able to draft either Bregman or Tucker with the #5 pick (presumably they'd have gone Bregman if he were available then).
In other words, we'd have only gotten one of the three guys we got this year at the top, as well as Aiken being on the DL and both Aiken and Nix probably holding some degree of animosity towards the organization. Just something to point out to the people who didn't want the delayed gratification of waiting until the 2015 draft.
I don't know why everybody keeps throwing Marshall into this. He was never likely to sign. The extra Aiken money was to sign Nix, and Marshall wasn't even a realistic possibility until we found out that the Astros reduced their offer to Aiken and we were all speculating what they could do with the ADDITIONAL money.
I'd rather have Bregman and Cameron than Aiken and Nix. Every day of the week and twice in Sundays.
In other words, I think we agree.
I think the Astros did a great job in the draft, and hope this is the end of any Aiken fallback. As others have mentioned, not signing him is what opened the door for that first round haul. I love those picks, even though I really wanted Swanson and Fulmer. I have much more faith in the Astros decision making than mine so I will defer to them on the best course of action.
My least favorite pick(s) were Clemens and Luken Baker. I know they are good players, but I would have rather picked someone who wasn't a lock to not sign. I guess in the end it really doesn't matter. That is just a personal preference.
I guess that besides the top of the draft guys, my favorite pick is probably the guy we took last, Steve Naemark. The guy has had a long road to being drafted...multiple schools, dropping out, depression, dead end jobs. Then he got it straight and became a great JUCO pitcher before going to Angelo State and becoming Lone Star Conference's Pitcher of the Year. After all that he signed for $5000 and a plane ticket, calling it "a dream come true". Great story.