Houston Astros Draft Production Since 1995

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I have been an avid reader, but very seldom poster, on this site for over 5 years. I love all of the content, perspective, and insight that this site provides and I definitely wanted to begin by showing my appreciation for all of the great writers and posters that frequent this community.

At some point before this last year's draft I was thinking about how the production from the 2012 draft class could be historic. I did some light research and I came across the total war by player drafted pages over at b-ref. I began sifting through the different draft classes and I decided that a breakdown of how our organization has produced over the last 15-20 years would make an interesting fan post. I never really got around to doing it, but, as I have some extra time on my hands today, I decided to go ahead and write it up (despite the fact that this post would be much more relevant and interesting during draft season). Regardless, here is my breakdown of the Astros draft performance over the course of 1995 to 2012.

To start, here is a bar graph of career WAR (so far) by year for all of the Astros drafts followed by an analysis of each of the general manager's performance.


1995 to 2004: Bob Watson (1995) and Gerry Hunsicker (1996 to 2004)

  • 1995 - Only Watson Draft in this analysis was a stinker at -2 War - no real notable players came from this draft
  • 1996 - Gerry's first draft was a gem that yielded both Roy Oswalt (23rd Rd, 50.2 War) and Wade Miller (20th Rd, 14.8 War)
  • 1997 - Sophomore draft netted the crowd-favorite Lance Berkman (1st Rd, 51.7 War) and Tim Redding (20th Rd, 0.4 War)
  • 1998 - Third draft was solid with Brad Lidge (1st, 8.2), Morgan Ensberg (9th, 13.8), and John Buck (7th, 4.9)
  • 1999 & 2000 - Two below average to poor drafts. Best result was Chad Qualls (2nd, 6.4), but also drafted Eric Bruntlet (9th, 0.9) , Jason Lane (6th, 1.9), and Chris Sampson (8th, 2.2).
  • 2001 to 2003 - Three ugly drafts produced the only highlight of Matt Albers (23rd, 2.1). 2003 was particularly bad as it only produced 2 players that ever played a major league game for a total of -0.3 War.
  • 2004 - Gerry Hunsicker ended his tenure with a bang getting Hunter Pence (2nd, 29.6) and Ben Zobrist (6th, 42.3). To this point, this is the most productive draft in terms of career War (72.5). Additionally, Pence and Zobrist are still going strong.
Gerry Hunsicker Total War = 233.8
Average War per Draft = 29

2005 to 2007: Tim Purpura
  • 2005 and 2006 - Two poor drafts with the best player being Bud Norris (6th, 4.5). Other notables include Brian Bogusevic (1st, 2.1) and Brandon Barnes (6th, 1.4)
  • 2007 - Worst Draft Ever - A total of zero (0) players received so much as a cup of coffee in the big leagues... Ouch!!
Tim Purpura Total War = 5.4
Average per Draft = 1.8

2008 to 2011: Ed Wade
  • 2008 - Decent draft that is largely propped up by Jason Castro (1st, 9.5), but also includes Jordan Lyles (1st Supp, -2.3)
  • 2009 - Excellent draft gave us our Cy Young award winner, Dallas Keuchel (7th, 12.5), the one that got away, JD Martinez (20th, 9.6), and the TCB favorite, Enrique Hernandez (6th, 3)
  • 2010 - Wade's worst draft to date still has a ton of potential to produce (albeit for other teams) with players like Delino Deshields Jr (1st, 0.9), Vince Velasquez (2nd, 2.1), and Mike Foltynewicz (1st, -0.4).
  • 2011 - Another great draft that produced George Springer (1st, 10.8) and Nick Tropeano (5th, 1.4).
Ed Wade Total War = 47.3
Average per draft = 11.8*

*It is obvious, at this point, that Hunsicker has a huge advantage in these metrics as most of the players that he drafted have played the majority, if not all, of their careers (yielding much greater career Wars), but I was actually surprised with the quality of Ed Wade's drafts. I expect him to eventually outpace Hunsicker in average war per draft as these younger players continue to do well in the majors.

2012: Jeff Luhnow

  • 2012: I believe that this will go down as a historic draft led by the double headed dragon of Carlos Correa (1st, 10.1) and Lance McCullers (1st Supp, 4). Also holds a ton of additional potential with names like Preston Tucker (7th, -0.8), Brett Phillips, Rio Ruiz, Tyler Heinemen, Aaron West, Mike Hauschild, and Jordan Jankowski.
  • 2013-2016: I didn't include these drafts in this analysis as I believe that there hasn't been enough time to yield results at the big league level. However, at first glance, 2013 has been the worst draft of Luhnow's tenure, and 2015 has the potential to be another historic level type draft.
Jeff Luhnow Total War (2012 only) = 13.3
Average War = 13.3

So, after doing this exercise, a few things stood out to me: 1) Tim Purpura did a horrendous job of utilizing the draft to inject talent into the organization. 2) Ed Wade performed much better than I think many people give him credit for, and 3) While I am very bullish on Luhnow's performance, it is still very early to analyze how well he has done.

What do you think? Any surprises? Is Luhnow going to be the best drafting GM of all time? Is Ed Wade going to top him on average war per draft? Is Purpura the worst thing to ever happen to the Astros?

Thanks for reading.