Houston Astros: Draft Review

General Manager: Ed Wade
Farm Director: Tal Smith
Scouting Director: Bobby Heck

2006-2009 Draft Results:
First three rounds included
x- over-draft signees ($200,000 or more)

2009 1st Round: Jiovanni Mier, SS, California HS
2. Tanner Bushue, RHP, Illinois HS
3. Telvin Nash, OF, Georgia HS
3S. Jonathan Meyer, 3B, California HS

Mier had a nice debut season for the Astros. The shortstop slugged seven homers in 192 at-bats (.208 ISO) and also showed his speed with six triples. He stole 10 bases but was caught five times, so he needs to improve his base running. The 13.5% walk rate was also very impressive for a teenager hitter, but the strikeout rate of 23.4% was a little high. Even so, the organization will certainly take a wOBA of .385 from Mier.

Bushue had a solid intro to professional baseball in ’09 while making five starts. He showed solid control in the small sample size of 22.1 innings by posting a walk rate of 2.01 BB/9. Bushue also managed a strikeout rate of 7.66 K/9. With a ground-ball rate of 37.3%, the right-hander will want to try and keep the ball out of the air a little more, especially if he’s going to play in Minute Maid Park.

Nash struggled in his pro debut and hit just .218/.280/.324 in 142 at-bats. The outfielder swung-and-missed too much, with a strikeout rate of 31.7%. He showed a lot of raw power as an amateur but his ISO rate of .106 suggests he has a long way to go to tap into that home-run ability. Defensively, the former first baseman was used in left field and he made six errors in 19 games.

The club’s fourth prep pick in as many selections, Meyer also had a rough debut in rookie ball and he hit just .190/.301/.299 with a strikeout rate of 31.2% in 221 at-bats. On the plus side, he did walk at a rate of 14.0%. A relatively new switch-hitter, Meyer hit just .111/.298/.111 against left-handed pitching.

2008 1st Round: Jason Castro, C, Stanford
1S. Jordan Lyles, RHP, South Carolina HS
2. Jay Austin, OF, Georgia HS
3. Chase Davidson, 1B, Georgia HS (Did not sign)
3S. Ross Seaton, RHP, Texas HS
4x – T.J. Steele, OF, Arizona
8x – Brad Dydalewicz, LHP, Texas HS

The club had a nice draft haul in ’08 (See what can be done when you don’t punt your draft picks!) and six members of the Top 10 prospect list can be found in this draft: Castro, Lyles, Austin, Seaton, Steele, and Dydalewicz.

The club failed to sign third-rounder Davidson, who took his potent prep bat to the University of Georgia and hit .231/.291/.389 (108 at-bats) in his first taste of college ball. Unable to sign Davidson, the club did hand some extra cash to Steele, who was an extremely raw college player but with an immense ceiling.

2007 1st Round: Derek Dietrich, 3B, Cleveland HS (3rd round, Did not sign)
2. None
3. None

Ugh. This was a nasty, nasty draft. It actually makes the Blue Jays’ ’09 draft look good. Dietrich snubbed Houston for Georgia Tech and he hit .311/.426/.511 in 225 at-bats as a sophomore in ’09. The ultra-athletic Collin DeLome (5th round) just squeaked into the Top 10 list, based on his power/speed/defensive potential.

2006 1st Round: Max Sapp, C, Florida HS
2. Sergio Perez, RHP, Tampa
3. Nick Moresi, OF, Fresno State

Things have not gone well for Sapp. The club will just be happy to see him on the field in 2010, if he’s recovered from viral meningitis, chronic sinus disease and seizures.

Perez has hit a wall in his development. The right-hander allowed 167 hits in 142.1 innings at double-A in ’09 and his strikeout rate dropped to 4.55 K/9. Moresi’s batting average of .244 in 135 high-A at-bats in ’09 was a career high, which is obviously not a good sign. He moved up to double-A and hit just .208/.247/.388 in 183 at-bats with a strikeout rate of 28.4%.

Infielder Chris Johnson (4th round) and right-hander Bud Norris (6th round) were much better picks. The 25-year-old Johnson projects to be a solid utility or platoon player for Houston after hitting .281/.3232/.461 in triple-A. Norris contributed 55.2 innings in Houston in ’09 and should be a member of the starting rotation in 2010. Outfielder Tyler Henley was the club’s 50th round selection as a draft-eligible sophomore but he did not sign. He went much higher to the Cardinals in ’07 (8th round) and has the potential to be a solid big-league contributor.

Up Next: The Houston Astros Top 10 Prospects

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Dietrich was a 3rd round pick in ’07, not a 1st round pick.