Tyler Ivey, RHP, Grayson CC (TX) - A Texas A&M transfer who posted a 3.56 ERA and 48/15 K/BB in 41 IP for the Aggies in 2016, Ivey totally dominated junior college competition this season, striking out 122 against 28 walks in 60 frames as Grayson’s ace. He repeats his simple delivery very well and doesn’t need much effort to generate low-90s heat. He shows a solid average curveball as well as a fringy slider and change, but backs them up with strong pitchability and has the look of a potential #4 starter. The Astros have shown a proclivity for Texas prospects and players from the junior college ranks, so it’s no surprise to see them select Ivey in this year’s draft.
Pick Grade: B-
This is not a high upside selection and Ivey was ranked fairly lowly by experts, but he could be a hidden gem who ends up a major league starter with his profile.
MLB Comparison: Asher Wojciechowski
Like the former Astro, Ivey uses fastball command and a strong curveball to keep hitters off balance and has other offerings to keep batters in check. If his offspeed stuff develops more than Wojo’s did after his career at The Citadel, Ivey could have more success.
Peter Solomon, RHP, University of Notre Dame - A highly regarded high school pitcher, Solomon has failed to develop his command much at Notre Dame, resulting in a move to the bullpen in 2017. The righty walked 28 batters in just 54 innings for the Irish this season, though he did strike out 61. A power pitcher who shows two breaking balls and a change, it remains to be seen if the Astros will give him another shot at starting.
Pick Grade: B+
Solomon has more upside than you’d expect for a player taken outside the top 100, and still shouldn’t be a difficult sign.
MLB Comparison: Tyler Chatwood
Both righties have electric stuff but struggle to command it consistently and use a variety of offerings.
Nathan Perry, C, Bassett HS (VA) - With a catcher’s build and big bat speed from the left side, Perry fits a common theme for Astros picks on the second day- perhaps a bit of a reach, but not without upside. 17 on draft day, the 6’2”, 200 lb. Perry’s best tool is his power which projects well to the next level. He will be brought along slowly, but provides some punch to the catcher position that prospects like Garrett Stubbs don’t offer.
Pick Grade: C+
Perry is a very raw talent coming from the Virginia prep ranks, but could turn into an exciting prospect down the road. There were likely several better talents on the board.
MLB Comparison: Tom Murphy
Perry is a lefty, but left-handed hitting catchers are exceedingly rare and Murphy fits a similar offensive profile to the young backstop.
Jake Adams, 1B, University of Iowa - A meaty 6’3” first baseman, Adams smacked 29 home runs to lead college baseball in 2017. With a long swing and average bat speed, Adams may struggle to make great contact in the majors but shows pitch recognition and an ability to punish mistakes at a high rate. He should easily handle the low minors before slowing his rise higher in the ranks, but could become a platoon contributor or bench bat in the big leagues with his polished in-game power.
Pick Grade: A-
I like this pick a lot. Adams was the NCAA’s top slugger this year, and posted some of the best power numbers of the BBCOR era against high level college competition. He would be far from the first player to make it to the majors after following a similar path.
MLB Comparison: Trey Mancini
Mancini was a 20 home run guy in college for Notre Dame and has found success at the big league level with a similar setup to Adams.
Parker Mushinski, LHP, Texas Tech - The Astros finally picked a left handed pitcher- but this one is strictly a bullpen piece. The soutpaw was dominant for the Red Raiders in 2017, notching six saves to go with 47 Ks in 37.2 innings, but walked 25 and will need to clean up his control in a big way to find success at the next level. Mushinski shows a harsh curveball and is a hard thrower, so if the Astros can harness his stuff he could be a dynamic bullpen piece.
Pick Grade: C
Mushinski will have to throw many more strikes as a pro than he did in college, but has a rare arm for a lefty and there is major league upside here.
MLB Comparison: Jerry Blevins
The Red Raider has much work to achieve a fraction of Blevins’ success as a big leaguer, but Mushinski has a similar profile as a fastball-curveball power lefty reliever.
Corey Julks, OF, University of Houston - Yet another Texas player from this year’s class, Julks hit .335 with as many walks as strikeouts for the Cougars while swiping 15 bags and recording 27 extra-base hits. The right handed hitter is just 5’10”, 185 lbs. and has the profile of a fourth outfielder at the next level. With his hitting skills, solid speed and gap power, he could be a fill-in at any outfield spot and earn a bench role.
Pick Grade: C+
I don’t see a lot of upside with Julks, but he will represent strong organizational depth and could even have major league value if he keeps hitting.
MLB Comparison: David Lough
Lough was a classic utility type outfielder in his best years and offered some modest power to go with baserunning and defensive value.
Mike Papierski, C, LSU - A well regarded defensive player, Papierski has swung a hot bat at times for the Tigers and shows some solid power (8 home runs in 2017) that could help him project as a second catcher at the next level. A left-handed hitter, Papierski still has room to grow into his frame and shows above-average raw power. Similar to last year’s third-rounder Jake Rogers, Papierski will be carried by his glove and pop at the next level.
Pick Grade: B
This is a great under-the-radar selection as Papierski was a different player down the stretch at the dish. He’s an accomplished college catcher who will be ready for the rigors of the pro game.
MLB Comparison: Robinson Chirinos
Chirinos is a consistent defender who has typically been the second catcher on a roster and offers some surprising power as a hitter.
Kyle Serrano, RHP, University of Tennessee - To be frank, Serrano’s career at his father’s Volunteers program was a disaster. The talented right-hander pitched pieces of four innings but never really got his feet under him after being seen as a first round talent as a prep player. Things came to a head when Serrano left the Vols this spring, and rumors have swirled as to the root cause. When on the hill Serrano can run it into the low-90s with a strong breaking ball and change, but struggled with his command in college. At his best he has a strong mid-rotation ceiling, but he has not pitched at that level in some time.
Pick Grade: A-
It’s hard to find more upside than this in the tenth round. Serrano is an odd situation, but the Astros must feel comfortable with him if they’re selecting him on day two.
MLB Comparison: Jerad Eickhoff
Like the young Phillies righty, Serrano can miss bats and has a diverse arsenal. If he has things together personally and medically, he could be a sleeper in the Astros system.