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2015 MLB Draft: Astros Select Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Cal-State Fullerton

Houston pops a proven, accurate righty with their fourth pick of the night


That was the response from most TCB commenters on the draft open thread immediately after Enos Cabel announced the Astros second round pick tonight. That's not a shot fired at our community; instead, I'll briefly summarize what this college righty brings to the table.

Eshelman is your quintessential NCAA Friday night starter- he's durable, throwing over 360 innings in his college career (which is kind of insane), and has impeccable control, as he's walked only 17 hitters in his entire career, coming from the same school as minor league slugger J.D. Davis.

His fastball sits in the low-90s, occasionally hitting 93, with a few decent breaking balls mixed in. He won't blow hitters away with his stuff, but the command he's show against good competition makes him a valuable pick at this point. Eshelman has the polish to move quickly through a system and slot into the back end of an MLB rotation. Think of him as a replacement of sorts for Andrew Thurman, who was projected to be a mid-rotation starter after he was selected in 2013. Eshelman probably isn't a mid-rotation guy, but Houston gets the chance to start over with a proven NCAA pitcher, especially after Thurman battled ineffectiveness before he was traded to Atlanta.

The one concern with Eshelman is his workload. Like many college starters who've been as durable as he has, Eshelman has been worked hard over his college career. He threw 100 pitches on Saturday in CSF's Super Regional, 143 pitches the week before in the regional, and pitched the final inning tonight to send Fullerton to the College World Series. That's a great accomplishment, but hopefully it doesn't have a negative impact on his arm. Look for the Astros front office to take Eshelman's assignment slowly this summer; they may even shut him down completely by mid-July to limit his innings, and come back fresh next spring.

Every exciting draft needs a few solid, high floor guys to save money and even out the risk; Eshelman is a good place to start in that category as the draft moves along.