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2016 MLB Draft: Astros Building Depth-LHP

A look at some potential LHP that the Astros may be tempted to select in the 2016 MLB draft.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Lets continue to look at the depth of a position of need like we did yesterday with catchers.

The Astros haven't had a big time lefty prospect in awhile. The closes thing they've probably had was Josh Hader whom they traded to the Brewers last season. Dallas Keuchel was never a big time prospect. Kent Emmanuel was a pick that many didn't like and just came back from Tommy John Surgery. They attempted to fix that in 2014 with the selection of Brady Aiken but that didn't work out. The Astros are aware of the lack of high end left-handed talent and could make attempts to fix that again.

Current Depth

Triple-A: Tommy Shirley, Reymin Guduan, Kevin Chapman, Chris Cotton

Shirley is the only one who starts but is unlikely to do that in the majors. He primarily pitches off two pitches and has had moderate success in Triple-A at the age of 27. Guduan has an electric fastball but is still working on harnessing his stuff. He has the potential of a late inning reliever. Chapman can strike guys out but can also have to many walks. He has ML experience but is ultimately a LOOGY. He's a crafty lefty without standout stuff. He hasn't been able to replicate his strikeout rates this season though.

Double-A: Kent Emmanuel, Evan Grills, Michael Freeman, Brian Holmes, Albert Minnis

I've already discussed Emmanuel's history and in his nine innings so far this season, he's been good. Evan Grills has taken a slow progression through the system as he was drafted as a very raw pitcher. He's seen some improvement with his velocity but hasn't been able to miss enough bats. Holmes has done things well at times and has struggled with control at others but is a back end of the rotation arm at best. Minnis hasn't pitched this season and profiles as a LOOGY. Freeman rose fast after being draft last year as a fifth year senior. But, he's walked more than struck out this season.

High-A: Alex Winkelman, Matt Bower, Bryan Radziewski

Winkelman was drafted last season and has pitched fairly well so far but his main struggle is with his walk-rate. Bower is another 2015 draftee and has stood out very well this season. So far, he has an 11.7 SO/9 and a 3.7 BB/9. The walks are high but he can sit them down. The ERA is high right now in Lancaster primarily due to home runs. Radziewski dominated Low-A before struggling with the walk-rate in High-A last year. He's yet to pitch this season.

Low-A: Sebastian Kessay, Austin Nicely, Zac Person

Kessay hasn't done much to stand out other than good strikeout rate in the short-season leagues but has struggled this season. Nicely was loved by scouts when drafted out of high school but knew he was raw. As a result he's struggled in every way. He was recently promoted to QC but has yet to pitch. Person looks like a LOOGY with a good strikeout rate and poor walk rate.

Others: Patrick Sandoval, Yhoan Acosta

Acosta has posted solid strikeout rates the whole time since signing as an IFA but can let the walk rate get high at times. Sandoval was drafted in the 11th round last year and pitched well in regards to a small sample and in the peripherals (ERA not so much)

The Draft

Jason Groome-High School (NJ): Likely top five pick so not an option....

A.J. Puk-Florida: Same as above...

Braxton Garrett-HS (Alabama): High upside with one of the better curves in the draft and a fastball that can touch 94. He's still lanky but with a good delivery and athleticism, he could one of the best pitchers in this draft. He's a first half of the first round level of pitcher.

Joey Wentz-HS (Kansas): Another high school lefty with good velocity (up to 95) and good off-speed pitches. There's a chance he develops to have three plus pitches and looks like a front-line starter as a result. Likely to be gone before the Astros pick at 17.

Eric Lauer-Kent State: Able to hit 94 but is more comfortable in the low-90's. He doesn't have a true out pitch which limits his ceiling but he's able to control the strike zone and can miss a few bats with a four pitch arsenal. He's possibly a late first rounder.

Anthony Kay-UConn: A pitchability lefty with back end of the rotation upside. He controls the zone but could benefit from adding another pitch. He sits int he low-90's and has a good changeup.

Cole Ragans-HS (Florida): A polished high school lefty with some projection left. He can get up to 93 and has a major league ready curveball. He may not be an Ace in waiting but mid-rotation upside is certainly a reasonable upside. He should be available in the second and third rounds.

Ben Bowden-Vanderbilt: Vandy always has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to baseball and their pitching staff is no exception this season. He was a Co-MVP of the Cap Cod playoffs and had a ridiculous strikeout rate there. He struggled in his first chance to start his spring but settled back into a dominating pitcher as the closer. A team could get a steal if they can successfully transition him to starting as he could be a #3.

Ryan Rolison-HS (Tenn): High schoolers often crank up their stuff as seniors and he did by upgrading his fastball from high-80's to low-90's. His breaking ball improved as well. He'll need to get a better feel for a changeup in the pros to succeed. Likely a top four round selection if he's signable from Ole Miss.

Nick Lodolo-HS (Cal): Here's where HS pitchers get risky. His stuff looks good at times and other times he looks like a guy who needs college. But, at 6'6" it could be hard to pass up when he has shown he can hit 93 and the projections still oozes from his frame.

Braeden Ogle-HS (FL): A strong armed lefty that can light up radar guns at 96. He has some mechanical things to iron out which could help his issues with control. He throws a hard curve ball as well that can definitely miss bats when he locates it well.

Matt Krook-Oregon: He was about to sign out of HS but had a similar situation as Brady Aiken. He ended up needing Tommy John as a Freshman missed 2015. He had issues with command all season and spent most of the time in the pen. He has an electric arm and devastating breaking ball but as long as command is an issue his results will lag behind his stuff. But, when he's good, he's first round material good.

Adam Laskey-HS (NJ): Another lefty topping out at 93. He has a good changeup but his slider lags behind and is below average. He has a good feel for pitching and could improve the breaking ball down the road. Could end up a mid-rotation starter. He's a risk to sign due to having a long standing commitment to Duke and unless drafted early enough, will keep it.

Jeff Belge-HS (NY): Interesting fact, he's blind in his right eye. He's injured it in an accident and some teams are weary of the implications of being blind in one eye. However, he can hit 95 and flashes a plus slider. Lefty's with that in their pockets are not every where.

Erik Miller-HS (Mo): There's a good bit to like here. He's not a flashy pitcher but can hit 95 but is more in the low-90's. He has a good curve and changeup. His delivery is also very good for a high school pitcher. He has a good frame as well. The big concern is the strong commitment to Stanford.

Keegan Akin-Western Michigan: Sure the MAC isn't a great conference, but he owned it with 11 SO/9 and a BB/9 at 2.5. His ERA was below 2 and even out dueled probable first rounder Eric Lauer. He can hit 96 and has a strong slider. Both the slider and changeup could be average ML pitches. He's a stocky guy and completely filled out with no remaining projectability.

JoJo Romero-Yavapai JC: The Astros have taken more than their fair share of JuCo's recently and this could be one. He has a four pitch mix with a fastball up to 95. His curve used to be his best secondary pitch but the slider and changeup have come a long way and may have passed the curve up. He had a 10.2 SO/9 and a 4 BB/9 this year. He has some mechanical work to do that could help the walks and improve the consistency of his velocity.

Cole Irvin-Oregon: He can hit 93-94 and has a slider and changeup. He was the Friday night starter for the Ducks but his ERA was in the 3's. His strikeout rate was just a hair below 8 SO/9. He missed the 2014 season with TJ surgery. He's very polished and could be ready quickly, but is limited to a back of the rotation upside.

Zack Thompson-HS (IN): He hurt his shoulder late in his Junior year of HS which gives some cause for concern. He rehabbed without surgery and can hit 94 but his velocity fluctuates. He has a high 3/4 arm slot and needs a lot of work with off-speed pitches but if everything breaks right, his upside is as a #3.

Drew Harrington-Louisville: A lefty with an 86-92 MPH fastball that peaked at 94 out of the pen as a sophomore. He also uses a slider and changeup. He pounds the bottom of the zone with all of his pitches. He has a knack for limiting walks but doesn't strikeout out a lot either.

Garrett Williams-Oklahoma State: High risk=High reward. He has pitched in the Cape twice but had just 10 2/3 regular season innings this season. He has premium stuff and can run it up to 96 MPH but has had big issues with controlling it all. As a result he gets a lot of walks which negate his strikeout ability. In both this season and last summer he struck out over 13 per nine but also walked about 9 per nine. He had Thoracic Outlet surgery as a senior in high school.