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2015 MLB Draft: Class Introduction

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Blurbs for every single Astros draft pick from the 2015 draft.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Allow me to give you an introduction to the Astros 2015 Draft Class.

Following is a blurb on every single draft selection so that you can have an idea on the general profile for every single pick.

***

1.2 Alex Bregman, SS, LSU

Good tools across the board that grade up thanks to "it," whatever you want to call "it." Grit, determination, tenacity… the Pedroia comps are out there and they aren’t far off. Maybe he won’t be a great defensive shortstop (don’t tell him, though), but he’ll be as good as he possibly can be, because of the "it." He does have a bat, though, so if he has to move to second, it will all even out. I love it. He does hit, he does walk, he does not strike out. He’s not a huge power guy (though the ISO jumped this season), but if he were, he’d have gone 1-1 and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Give me a guy that can hit and who competes, who has "it," and the rest can be filled in. -- Brian


1.5 Kyle Tucker, OF, H.B. Plant HS (FL)

There was a lot of debate about either Cameron or Tucker at this spot and I am really glad they went with Tucker, that is not a knock on Cameron but a big praise of how much I think of Kyle.  This kid has elite tools and the rest of his other tools are average to above average.  He may not be as polished as Cameron but he is not far off.  His body has not even begun to fill out and yet he already has elite power.  This kid is going to be scary good if he develops even half his talent.  While I see him as a future RF with that good arm of his, he can play some center and probably will until upper minors.  I am really looking forward to the Tucker duo in Houston in 3-4 years (Let our powers combine!). -- Blake


1.37 (Comp.) Daz Cameron, OF, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (GA)

Well somehow Luhnow worked his magic again and was able to draft Cameron in the supplemental round.  This kid has been scouted since his early HS days and fairly so since he is a good talent.  He gets labeled as being a 5 tool talent and he is if you go off the definition "5-tool player. The ideal position player (non-pitcher); an athlete who excels at hitting for average, hitting for power, baserunning skills and speed, throwing ability, and fielding abilities.".  That being said he is not elite in any of those from my observations; he does everything well and there is a lot of value.  He presents the highest floor of probably any HS pick, except maybe Rodgers.  All in all, we got a steal in this draft that will probably give us the ability to put him in as a centerpiece for a big trade to acquire the talent we need to push us to a WS victory.  -- Blake


2.46 Thomas Eshelman, RHP, Cal State-Fullerton

I don't think it's unfair to compare Eshelman to LSU's Aaron Nola, who dominated in college ball enough to go in the first round in 2014 despite some fairly underwhelming stuff. The biggest difference is that at 6'3", 210 lbs., Eshelman has a bit more size than Nola did. He also fared well in a relief role with the USA Collegiate National Team in 2014, going 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA and one save, holding opposing batters to a .213 average, with just one extra-base hit. Eshelman won't overwhelm you with his stuff - a high-eighties fastball with a good changeup and curve - but his command is beyond comparison. With 118 strikeouts to just six walks over 114 innings, 2015 continued the trend he's shown through his entire college career. --Anthony


3.79 Riley Ferrell, RHP, TCU

TCU came into the season with arguably the best depth to their pitching staff which ended up hurting Ferrell’s stock as it forced him to not start again this season. He has a history of success out of the pen and given that history along with depth, they kept him in the closers role. His fastball is plus with velocity that sits in the mid-90’s. His slider can be a plus pitch capable of producing a lot of strikeouts. The limiting factor for him being a starter is how the changeup plays since it’s under-utilized at this time. --Brooks


4.109 Anthony Hermelyn, C, Oklahoma

A college catcher with a touch of upside. He jumped up on some radars after starting to hit this year (.813 OPS for Oklahoma), and in the Cape Cod league to boot. Not going to be a power bat, but there’s some potential to hit for decent average and draw some walks. Grades a little above-average or plus across the board defensively. That’s what you’re buying here; a potential plus defensive backstop once pro coaching has it’s way with him. If he hits a little too, so much the better. -- Brian


5.139 Trent Thornton, RHP, North Carolina

Few pitchers will grab your eye on the mound like Thornton. He utilizes one of the highest leg kicks you’ll see in the modern era of baseball. His stuff doesn’t wow you like the delivery does but can still get plenty of strikeouts due to solid average stuff and plenty of deception. He posted a 11.76 K/9 during his junior year. He pitched the least this season as he had his least amount of starts and struggled with control as his walk rate rose along with his ERA. He was used as a closer several times during his freshman and junior years. --Brooks


6.169 Nestor Muriel, CF, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy (PR)

This is essentially a J2 guy in the draft as he’s from Latin America and didn’t turn 17 until after the draft. He’s one of the youngest drafted, if not THE youngest, and there have been a number of studies showing that age is a good indicator for HS draft picks. He has average or better tools across the board except for power which is tough to project for his age. He’s a very good athlete but is even more raw. --Brooks


7.199 Michael Freeman, LHP, Oklahoma State

From young to old, Freeman is already 23 but he was one of the best pitchers in the Big 12 this season. His 1.93 ERA in 109 ⅔ innings is nothing to sneeze at his peripheral stats back it up. He limits walks (2.38 BB/9) and can get his share of strikeouts (7.96 K/9). Given his age, developing him as a starter is out of the question due to the development time leaving him out of his prime. But, his high 80’s fastball from a low slot and tons of movement make him rough on left-handed hitters. --Brooks


8.229 Garrett Stubbs, C, USC

No power in this bat, but that doesn’t matter. Once again, the Astros are buying defense, and specifically an arm. Some will tell you he’s the premier defensive backstop available this year. Finalist for the Johnny Bench award. He caught 53.8% of attempting base stealers. Ridiculous. Teach him the finer points of receiving and framing, and he’s a Major League backup at worst. He also took a big leap forward with the bat; even if it’s not real, he has always drawn a lot of walks, so he probably won’t be a total zero on offense, even if he doesn’t really hit. Very high floor for the 8th round of a supposedly-weak draft class. -- Brian


9.259 Zac Person, LHP, LSU

Another soft-tossing lefty with fastball that can touch 91 that is very strong against lefties. He also possesses a good curve. He only made three starts in his two years at LSU so he’s a reliever all the way, but he’s excelled in that role. He has a history of handling high pressure situations for LSU and was their primary set-up man. There’s one stat you really want to know about this guy, 10.45 K/9 this season. --Brooks


10.289 Scott Weathersby, RHP, Ole Miss

Another fifth-year senior that had a little late of a start with a big program. He spent three years at Ole Miss and pitched very well out of the pen. He made four starts this year. He’s not the the blow you away type as he’s around 90 usually but he supposedly has very good spin rates on his pitches as he said in an interview that the Astros were impressed with those numbers. --Brooks


11.319 Patrick Sandoval, LHP, Mission Viejo HS (CA)

Very tough sign, but a real potential gem if the Astros can work it out. Athletic and projectable prep southpaw who can already kiss 92-93 MPH with his heater. Shows a curve that flashes legit plus when he has a feel for it, and the foundation of a solid change as well. Needs significant improvement in all areas, but the talent package is a rare and valuable one. -- Brian


12.349 Myles Straw, CF, St. Johns River State College (FL)

Drafted for his speed as he ran a 6.25 60 at a private workout. That’s true 80 grade speed. Very real plus-plus speed. He hit over .400 for his JuCo team which is impressive no matter the competition level. His speed should allow for him to be centerfielder and he’ll have the arm since he also appeared seven times this season on the mound as well. If he can get on-base, he could be a real offensive threat. --Brooks


13.379 Kevin McCanna, RHP, Rice

There’s a lot to like here. Remember Daniel Mengden from last year? No, he’s not that good, but he’s better than the 13th round. He’s a legit starting pitching prospect who can touch the mid-90’s and wields a solid curve. Doesn’t walk many, solid performer. He could have gone much higher. Local kid, too, from the Woodlands. You just feel like there’s significant upside here from a 13th rounder. Very real back-end rotation potential, and that’s before the Astros coaches work with him. Could be more. -- Brian


14.409 Johnny Sewald, CF, Arizona State

Appears to have a similar profile to Andrew Aplin, who the Astros also drafted out of Arizona State. Slashed .324/.436/.403 for the Sun Devils this season. Look at that OBP. Walks a lot, good defender, good base-runner (better than Aplin perhaps, even). Has no power though, whatsoever, even less than Aplin, so the glove and OBP ability will have to be big to carry him on to anything significant. -- Brian


15.439 Pat Porter, RF, Ohio State

Some guys take awhile to develop and Porter looks like he might be one of those. He spent four years at OSU and appeared in at least 50 games every season. The coaches saw something otherwise they wouldn’t have given him those opportunities year in and year out. He didn’t hit that well his freshman and junior years which is why he’s still available as a senior, but he easily had his best season. He hit well, drew his fair share of walks, and the big difference is a big spike in power. He hit 11 this year and only had five the three previous combined. --Brooks


16.469 Adam Whitt, RHP, Nevada

The Astros have taken some risks with pitchers and funky deliveries over the past few years and Whitt is a continuation of that. He has a low arm slot that some have even called him a submariner. I’d call him a sidearm guy. But his deception allows his high-80’s fastball play up. He added a changeup in the Cape Cod League and it really helped him earn the CC reliever of the year award. I doubt those guys are usually available in the 16th round. Man, that 11.07 K/9 and 14 saves is nice. --Brooks


17.499 Justin Garcia, LF, Nova Southeastern University

This might be the most underrated hitter selected. He crushed the ball for the J.D. Martinez alma mater. They’re very different hitters so thats where the comparison ends. Garcia hit 26 HR’s this year and had a .385 batting average. He drew 25 walks and struck out 35 times. We’ll have to wait and see how the plate discipline translates but there’s no denying he can hit the ball hard. In fact he supposedly hit one 440 feet. --Brooks


18.529 Kevin Martir, C, Maryland

You don’t usually find catchers in the 18th round that are good both at and behind the plate. He’s been given good reviews as a leader defensively and handling the pitching staff. The Astros are big on pitch framing. Between their recent focus on that and the high praise, there’s reason to believe he’ll stick behind the plate. Add in a positive BB/SO ratio (32/30 BB/SO), .342 batting average, and seven home runs, you have an intriguing prospect. --Brooks


19.559 Drew Ferguson, CF, Belmont University

Speaking of center field sluggers, Ferguson slashed .395/.486/.682 with eleven home runs and twenty-six stolen bases in twenty-eight attempts. He walks at roughly the OVC average rate, but he avoids strikeouts well, with just 24 of them in 284 plate appearances. Ferguson is a senior, and provides a really nice skillset for a team looking for signability. --Anthony


20.589 Makay Nelson, RHP, College of Southern Idaho

There’s not a whole lot of information on Nelson except his stats and the fact that one article said he was their staff ace. If you’re going to get a pitcher from a team, their ace is usually a good place to start. He had a 64/28 SO/BB ratio in 68 innings. --Brooks


21.619 Alex Winkelman, LHP, Southeast Missouri State

This is an interesting selection. He lead his team in innings (98) this season but also lead them in walks with 51. On the flip side, he was one strikeout (92) from being the team leader in those as well. The Astros love BB/SO ratio’s and this doesn’t follow that very well. He apparently has caught several eyes though as he was a starter in the Cape Cod League the day before he was drafted. Those opportunities aren’t handed out freely. --Brooks


22.649 Cole Sands, RHP, North Florida Christian HS (FL)

Very tough sign, or he wouldn’t have fallen. Low-90s heat with some life, though he can kiss the mid-90s when he reaches for it. Better feel for a change than a lot of prep arms, and a slider too, but they’ll both need significant work still. Mechanics look like they’ll need some improvement, too. Very young, one of the younger guys in the whole class, that’s been a sticking point with the Astros, trying to get guys as young as possible. Great foundation to build on if they can convince him not to go to Florida State. -- Brian


23.679 Matt Bower, LHP, Washington State

Used almost exclusively as a reliever, he accumulated 47 innings and had an impressive 53 strikeouts. He also made two starts this season. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Northwoods League. This was his junior year so he can still go back to school to compete for a starting spot and possibly raise his draft stock. --Brooks


24.709 Chris Murphy, RHP, Millersville University

A D-II senior find, he won the pitcher of the year award for his conference for the past three seasons. He has a low arm slot and can hit around 90 with the fastball but has good speed differential with his splitter and slider. He walked just 15 in 88 innings this season. --Brooks


25.739 Jorge Martinez, C, Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, (PR)

He’s not a big kid which may limit his ability down the road, but he moves well and looks to have the tools to stick behind the plate. He doesn’t have great arm strength but still posts above average pop times due to quickness. He has a quick and compact swing as well and does well in the upper half of the zone. --Brooks


26.769 Ralph Garza, RHP, Oklahoma

A pitcher from the extreme southern part of the state, Edinburg to be exact. He had a great BB/SO ratio this season at 12/49 in his 46 ⅓ innings this year. He wasn’t the closer but was able to pick up two saves this year. -Brooks


27.799 James Carter, RHP, University of California-Santa Barbara

This is probably one of those "lets see if he’ll sign" picks. He replaced Dillon Tate as the closer and did very well as he had five saves in seven games. Problem is that he then fell victim to Tommy John. He has very good command of a low-90’s fastball and can definitely strike some guys out. He had 12 strikeouts before his injury limited him to 9 ⅔ innings. --Brooks


28.829 Zac Grotz, RHP, Embry-Riddle University

Statistically this is a very good pick. He’s bounced around to four different programs, including a season at Tennessee. In a weak conference, he dominated to the tune of a 0.70 ERA. He was third in innings (77 ⅔)for his team despite only starting five games. The really impressive part is the 90 strikeouts and just 12 walks. Also he allowed just 47 hits and none of them were home runs. --Brooks


29.859 Brooks Marlow, 2B, Texas

Marlow is a small (not Altuve or Kemp small though) second baseman that hasn’t done much statistically. He’s postes .250’s range batting averages and strikes out twice as much as he walks. That’s not always bad, but he only hit six home runs this season which isn't’ as impressive as it used to be given the new balls causing a home run spike this season. Still it’s likely to be average power for second baseman. --Brooks


30.889 Bobby Wernes, 3B, Arkansas

Relatively young for a college guy. Excellent defensive third baseman who finally hit some this season for Arkansas. Posted a .280/.375/.431, lots of walks, few strike outs. If the pop is real and he can hit a little, that and the glove will carry him to the upper minors at least. -- Brian


31.919 Keach Ballard, SS, Oklahoma Baptist University

Not much of a bat here, though he does walk a lot, and makes a lot of contact. Put up gaudy numbers at a JuCo but was perhaps exposed when he went to OU this season (.659 OPS). Defense-first guy at shortstop, which is where his value will be. Does run a little, 10-15 SB is reasonable. Fringe guy for sure though, unless he figures out something with the stick. -- Brian

32.949 Aaron Mizell, OF, Georgia Southern

He’s a skinny outfielder and doesn’t look the part of a power hitter but there is power in his bat. He hit 13 and 12 home runs the last two seasons. Given the new balls, you’d have expected a few more this year. He’s done well at the plate overall with a batting averages around .300 and decent walk and strikeout rates. --Brooks


33.979 Kolbey Carpenter, 2B, Oklahoma

The biggest part of his game is versatility. Despite being announced as a second baseman, he plays multiple positions. He also manned corner outfield spots as well as occasionally first base. He hits for a high average and he even knocked in 8 home runs, so he might be able to reach average power for a second base type. --Brooks


34.1009 Conor Biggio, OF, Notre Dame

No disrespect, but this was more a sentimental type pick. He played just 18 games this season for Notre Dame and hit .200.


35.1039 Kody Clemens, SS, Memorial HS (TX)

The youngest of the Clemens clan has already said he’s going to Texas and will not sign. He’s long and lean and has some tools but given his average at best speed, he may eventually move off SS. --Brooks


36.1069 Ryan Deemes, RHP, Nicholls State

Another senior sign type. He was one of four pitchers who had the bulk of the starts on the mound and was actually the starter when they beat LSU, where Bregman played. He was second on the team in innings (78 ⅓) and strikeouts (67). --Brooks


37.1099 Luken Baker, RHP, Oak Ridge HS (TX)

He has also already said that he’ll be going to school at TCU and not sign. He’s a typical Texas HS Power Pitcher with mid-90’s heat but he’s also a beast at the plate. He has big time power and has won home run derby’s. --Brooks


38.1129 Nick Rivera, 1B, Florida Gulf Coast University

Not your typical looking power hitting first baseman. He’s shorter than most at 5’10 but he can hit and knows what he’s doing at the plate. He drew 40 walks in 239 PA’s this season and struck out 34 times. He hit 10 home runs which puts his power below his first baseman peers. --Brooks


39.1159 Alex Vargas, RHP, Monroe College

One of the primary starters, he finished second on the team in innings. He accumulated 72 strikeouts and walked 28 in his 60 innings. He obviously can sit guys down but between the 28 walks and the 13 hit batters says there are some legitimate control issues. --Brooks


40.1189 Steve Naemark, LHP, Angelo State

You’ve probably read the stories; went through several years of dead-end, low-paying job outside of baseball before finally getting things back on track. Played at Angelo State for a year and posted dominant numbers (1.37 ERA, 1.66 BB/9, 9.94 K/9). 25-years-old, huge long-shot, but at least you know he wants it bad and will work hard. -- Brian