The first day of the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft has come, and gone. The first two rounds of the draft are in the book, and the Houston Astros (subject to signing) have added two new prospects to their farm system. In the first round of the draft, with the 17th overall selection, the Astros drafted high school right hander, Forrest Whitley. In the second round, with the 61st overall pick, the Astros selected college outfielder, Ronnie Dawson.
Of course, the Astros couldn't make as big of a splash as normal in this years draft given that is was their first year since 2011 that they haven't held either the first, or second overall selection. The Philadelphia Phillies had the privilege of drafting first this year, and used the 1-1 pick to grab high school outfielder, Mickey Moniak. A five-tool, centre fielder, with an extremely high floor. Such talent isn't quite available at 1-17.
It was an interesting draft. Widely viewed as the best overall talent in the buildup to the draft, Jason Groome, slipped all the way down to the Boston Red Sox, at 1-12. College left hander, A.J. Puk, who was viewed as the most likely candidate to be selected first overall in the days leading up to the draft, slipped down to 1-6 to the Oakland A's. College outfielder, Kyle Lewis, an outside tip to be selected by the Phillies to open the draft, fell to the Mariners, at 1-11.
In unchartered territory, how did the Astros fare, compared to the other teams? Let's have a quick look at some big winners, and some losers, and the Astros.
St. Louis Cardinals: Not only do the Cardinals have the best fans in all of baseball, but they also, sadly, in my opinion, had the best day one of the draft. They held the 23rd overall selection, and also gained two selections at the end of the first round in compensation for losing both John Lackey, and Jason Heyward.
With their first pick, they grabbed shortstop, Delvin Perez. The Puerto Rican was probably going to go within the first five selections of the draft, but failed a drug test in the lead up to the draft hence his fall. Of course, that brings up questions about his character and his makeup, but, in terms of overall quality, he is the best shortstop in this draft. At just 17, he already has incredible defensive abilities, and is now developing his bat.
With their compensation picks, they nabbed Dakota Hudson and Dylan Carlson. The very fact that it was a big surprise that Hudson fell that far, speaks volumes of his ability. A quality power arm. Carlson is an interesting pick; a switch hitter, with some power potential. And then, with the 70th overall pick, they took Connor Jones.
I, personally, thought Connor Jones may have gone in the first round. One of the highest floors in the draft, the college right hander has strong control of his sinker/slider repertoire, and is likely to get the big leagues in a hurry. He won't blow anybody away, but will be a decent major league starter. The Cardinals, overall, did very, very well.
Worth a mention: Oakland A's.
Chicago White Sox: In my opinion, the White Sox, with the 10th overall selection, got themselves one of the best, if not the best hitter in this entire draft class. Catcher (although probably future first baseman), Zach Collins, put up incredible numbers in the build up to the draft. He has a fantastic eye at the plate, walked more than he struck out, and hit for a lot of power.
Collins alone would constitute a decent opening day to the draft. Yet, they added two other good prospects. Zach Burdi isn't quite my favourite draft prospect, given that he is likely to be a reliever, but having already added their superstar in Collins, Burdi makes a lot of sense. An incredibly high floor means Burdi is already well on his way to being on the major league team. Don't be surprised if he is doing good things out of the Sox bullpen as early as this season.
And then, they added an extremely high upside starting pitcher in Alec Hansen. When draft discussions for this year started, Hansen was seen as one of the stars of this draft. However, after struggling a little with command his stock fell. But, you can't ignore the 'stuff'. If he can conquer his command and control issues, he has a fine repertoire of pitches. An extremely intriguing, and exciting prospect. Overall, they added a star in Collins, a legit major leaguer in Burdi, and an enticing project in Hansen.
Worth a mention: Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins
Houston Astros: I think this is where the Astros belong in the grand scheme of it all. Their haul from day one won't blow anybody away, then again, with only two selections, the first of which coming at 1-17, it would be rather hard to. The Astros have made the most of their opportunities in this draft, thus far, hence the high rating.
There's a chance Forrest Whitley turns out to be one of the best high school arm in this draft (second to only Braxton Garrett, potentially). He completely transformed physically going into this year, and it paid huge dividends for the young right hander. His fastball velocity soared as a result, and also owns a power curveball and a developing changeup. In time, he could blossom into a fantastic major league pitcher.
In the second round, the Astros drafted outfielder, Ronnie Dawson, from Ohio State. A college bat, with some pop, and a decent eye at the plate. He has struck out a good bit more than he has walked, which isn't ideal, though. He has some speed, and plays a solid left field. It's tough to tell just how good Dawson is/might be, but time will tell. In the meantime, it must be said that the Astros probably couldn't have gotten much more value out of the 61st overall pick.
Worth a mention: Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers
Worth a mention: Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals
San Diego Padres: In honesty, their haul from the first day of the draft wasn't too bad at all. However, given that the Padres owned four of the first 50 selections, much more was expected from the Padres. Cal Quantrill is an interesting gamble: a guy with big stuff, but who has not pitched this year, and, for me, someone was too much of a reach at 1-8. If they took him with their later picks, I would have more praise.
Hudson Sanchez was probably one of the biggest reaches of the first day of the draft: a third baseman without a plus tool, who may not even be able to stick at third base. Both of their first two selections fall short of the lofty expectations we had for the Padres. The Astros, relative to the draft order, certainly did much better.
Their next two selections were better, however, proving just enough to slip them into the bottom of the 'B' category. In Eric Lauer they get a legitimate pitcher, with an extremely high floor. As a southpaw he is a valuable selection, and somebody I'd expect to see in the big leagues in the not too distant future. Despite concerns about his hit tool, Buddy Reed still figures to offer some value to a major league roster with his speed, and defense.
Worth a mention: Pittsburgh Pirates
Worth a mention: Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles
The Houston Astros aren't a big winner, but it would've been hard for them to have been given their position in the draft order. Yet, they certainly did much better than several other teams, especially the Texas Rangers. The overall winners and losers will come much clearer after today, and tomorrow, though.