Call me pessimistic, but there few things to look forward to for the remainder of the Astros 2011 season. With little excitement left outside of who will still be wearing the pinstripes at the end of the season, I thought we may take a look at who may join the Astros in the draft next year … only 11 and a half short months away! Wins are becoming harder to come by as the summer draws longer, so the current projections of the Astros getting the number 1 pick in next year’s draft is not unlikely. Here we will profile a couple of the favorites to go number one.
Lance McCullers – RHP/SS (Tampa Jesuit HS, Tampa)
Recently voted Mr. Baseball in the state of Florida, McCullers has the talent to be the number one pick in the draft with his high 90s fastball and great action curve. But that is only if he/his future club decide to stick with him at the pitchers spot. Though he is currently an ace starter for his high school team and a closer earlier in his career, he is also leading his team in hitting and plays some incredible short stop. Committing only one error during his 2011 season, he couples his great defense with a .400+ batting average and decent pop.
Committed to the University of Florida, people are beginning to ask the prospect if he would forgo college to play in the majors straight out of high school. Never giving too much of a straight answer, McCullers hints that he would consider his options when the time comes around. Of course, with a full year of baseball ahead of him, he wouldn’t want to make Florida think he is going to blow off his scholy offer, but if he is selected number 1 overall … I would imagine he would take the offer.
With scouts thinking that he has yet to reach his full potential, we will be checking in over the next season to see if that fastball reaches 100 MPH as many scouts seem to think it is inevitable. Considering he has a college ready curve and a change up that deserves respect, a 3 pitch combination like that may keep him focused on getting drafted as a pitcher and developing that aspect of his game.
Mark Appel – RHP (Standford, JR)
As a second team All American in his Sophomore campaign for Stanford, Appel has already proven he can handle the spot light since he pitches on Friday nights already in his budding college career. Appel is considered to be the best college pitching prospect in next year’s draft due to his 93-95 MPH fastball and swing and miss slider. Registering 83 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings pitched, Appel is showing that he can overpower batters when need be. Reaching the 6th inning in all of his starts, Appel shows scouts that he has what it takes to work deeper into ball games while still pitching with consistency.
Batters are hitting a solid .277 against him which will be something that needs to fall if he wants to hear his name called first in next years draft. His 3.19 K/BB ratio is great for a sophomore pitcher or any staff ace for that matter, but look for it to climb even higher during his 2012 campaign. Stanford will be needing him to pitch at his highest level next year in order to make it to the CWS, so expect to see Mark work even later into games and give scouts even more stats from which to evaluate his possibilities.