But the draft is the source of much of the Astros success over the past three seasons. Houston hasn’t built with free agency for over 10 years and finally started adding key pieces this offseason with the core build through the draft.
The foundations of the success were laid in the 2012 draft with Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr. in the first round. 18 of the current 40-man roster were either the product of Astros drafts or a trade of Astros draft picks.
But anyone that the Astros draft won’t likely make an impact on the current roster until 2018 at the earliest. For example, Alex Bregman was easily the most pro-ready college bat in the 2015 MLB Draft and he didn’t make it the major until 2016. This isn’t the NBA or NFL, there are no ready-made pro prospects in year one.
But here is a quick primer on how things work if yo have any questions:
Each is put in order of the draft by win total, more specifically lack of wins. Thus the Minnesota Twins with a league-worst 59-103 record last season have the No.1 overall pick.
The Astros finished in the middle of the pack last season and are picking at No.15.
There are two key points about the draft to know, traditional picks can’t be traded — only compensation picks can be traded. Compensation picks are given out at the end out at the end of around to counterbalance key free agent lost by teams. For example, the Blue Jays were given a first round comp pick for Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion signed with the Indians and Cleveland lost their first round pick as a result.
The Astros didn’t sign any players that required a loss of a pick, instead, the Astros actually picked up two picks from the Cardinals for breach of Houston's database — No. 56 and No. 75.
Astros Draft Picks and Draft Bonus Pool
The Astros have five picks in the top 100 selections (No. 15, 53, 56, 75, and 91) and will have the 16th pick in each round from round No. 4 through 40 after that.
The Astros are allotted a certain amount of money based on the number of picks and where they fall in the draft. Each draft pick has set the value to prevent players or teams from holding too much sway in the draft — each side knows the value going into negotiations.
The Astros have the 11th highest draft pool at $9,039,600 to sign their picks in the first 10 rounds of the draft. Players from rounds 11-40 must sign under $125,000 or else the team will be penalized. If the Astros go over by 5% or less of their draft pool, they would be taxed at 75% tax on the overage. The rate only goes up from 5-10% to 100% tax. 10-15% over is 100% tax and a 1st and second round pick in next year’s draft. 15% and over is 100% tax and two first round picks. The Astros will likely not have any tax issues minus the 0-5% tax (75% of the overage).
Who will the Astros take?
For the first time in a while, the Astros aren’t drafting at the top of the draft. And at No. 15 it’s tough to project who the Astros will take. But the TCB staff has a few options from our own mack draft:
15a. Astros - Jake Burger, 3B, Missouri State
A talented hitter for contact and power, Burger has good hands at third and could stick there. His power/OBP combo fits the Astros' MO of evaluating collegiate bats, and he is also close to BPA at this point. - SM
15b. Astros - Keston Hiura, 2B/OF, UC-Irvine
With the 15th pick the Astros get one of the best bats in the draft. While Hiura doesn't really have a position (some see him as a second baseman, some as an outfielder) he has the bat to carry him to the majors. This year he has hit .442 with 24 2B, 8 HR, 50 BB/38 K and a .567(!) OBP in 56 games. He has an elbow injury and could need Tommy John surgery but has been able to avoid it to this point as it doesn't mess with his hitting. This would be similar to the Happ pick for the Cubs. Take the bat, figure out the position later. - AF
I have to go with Hiura as well, I think he's the best pure college hitter in the draft. I think you figure out his position later and go with it, especially if Baz is already gone. - JM
15c. D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA)
Though Hiura would be a great fit for Houston and has an extremely high floor with his hit tool, the Astros should look to maximize upside here at (hopefully) their last pick within the top-20 for the foreseeable future. Hall is a consensus top-15 pick everywhere you look so I can argue he's BPA, and he fills a need as a high-potential left-handed starter in the system. Hall can run his fastball up to 94-95 and has an exceptional curveball for an 18-year old with a reportedly solid spin rate on that breaking pitch. All that from the left-side gives the Astros another young arm with two plus pitches who has a relatively high floor for a prep arm.