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Astros 3rd Round Draft Picks Past and Future

What are the chances the Astros find value in the upcoming draft.

MLB: Game One - Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles
J. D. Davis. One of the Astros’ better 3rd round draft picks
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 draft is coming, 7:00 PM tomorrow (6/10). Due to the punishment for cheating the Astros will not have their normal 1st and 2nd round picks this year or next year either. However, they will have the 72nd pick in this draft as compensation for the loss of Gerrit Cole in free agency. Their first pick in the third round will come at number 101.

For argument’s sake let’s say that the pick at #72 is like an early third round pick. If so, the Astros have two third round picks this year.

How have the Astros fared in the third round in years past? I went back to 1995 to 2015 to find out.

It’s not a pretty picture. The only two Astros 3rd round draft picks to have made significant major league contributions were not signed by the Astros. The first was Drew Stubbs in 2003, who had a career 7.9 bWAR, and Derek Dietrich in 2007, who earned 5.2 bWAR playing for the Marlins.

That’s two out of twenty three (somewhat) productive 3rd round picks, although I think we can assume the current management regime won’t fail to sign their picks like the Astros tended to do in the Drayton McClain years.

The only other major leaguers out of these twenty years of picks were Kirk Saarloos, (2001, 1.1 bWAR), Tommy Manzella, (2005, -1.4 bWAR), Josh Lindblom, (2005, 0.9 bWAR), Brady Rogers, (2012, -0.9 bWAR), and J.D. Davis, (2014, 0.1 bWAR)

I will concede that Davis might end up the best third round pick of the bunch when it’s all over. But he was traded last year to the Mets.

Still, with only five rounds in the draft, the chances of a quality big-leaguer emerging for the Astros from the 2020 draft look pretty small.