I had the privilege of spending Friday night’s game with seven of my fellow internet baseball reporters. I took that opportunity to conduct a poll – asking each writer who they would take with the first pick in tomorrow’s draft. I must say I was a little surprised by the results. Let me preface those results with a bit of a disclaimer. This particular group of writers, while well-versed in the goings on at the major league and minor league levels, does not employ a team of scouts. Most of the individuals in this group would not claim to be an expert in the area of amateur players and their abilities.
That being said, like everyone else, we still have our opinions. Some may be more qualified than others, but who’s to say? All I can tell you for sure is that Jeff Luhnow and company are more qualified than any of us and fortunately, they will ultimately be making the decision. Anyway, on to the results!
The first person I polled was Chip Bailey of chron.com’s ultimate astros. Bailey is a veteran sportswriter from Baton Rouge, La. Chip follows baseball at many levels including College and Junior College. Chip stayed close to home with his pick, going with LSU pitcher Kevin Gausman.
Next up was David Coleman of The Crawfish Boxes. David surprised me with his pick, Albert Almora, a High School outfielder from Mater Academy in Florida. If you’re like me and have never heard of Almora, scroll down David’s list of posts for a nice scouting report.
Next up was Jason of Astros County. Jason started a trend by picking Appling County H.S. (Ga.) outfielder Byron Buxton. I’m not sure exactly which writer at AC is actually Jason. They have cool code names and I think his is County Clerk. Either way, Almost as impressive as his Adonis-like physique was his knowledge of Astros no-hitters. When Johan Santana completed his gem against the Cards, Jason was quick to point out the Astros had accomplished the feat ten times. The two of us were able to name all ten authors of Astros no-nos before our host Alyson Footer could confirm our findings with the media guide. I took care of the more ancient history and Justin filled in the rest.
Mike Tauser of Farmstros.com continued the trend started by Jason. Mike also went with Buxton but was quick to point out that his pick was a representation of the entire Farmstros village. Mike ran a poll at his site and wanted the voice of his readers to be heard. They selected Buxton by a fairly wide margin. The village also cast several votes for another interesting player, 17 year-old Puerto Rican outfielder Carlos Correa.
Continuing with the minor league experts, I spoke with Jayne Hansen of What the Heck, Bobby? Jayne too is a fan of Buxton and was the third straight person to pick him. I had a great time chatting with Jayne throughout the evening and her site is a must read for those who want to know more about the Astros minor league system. Jayne publishes a ton of content, including lots of player interviews.
Stephen Naron recently joined The Houston Sports Counterplot and represented the site at Friday’s event. I spent quite a few innings getting to know Stephen and look forward to reading more of his work. As a Middle School coach I think Stephen can add a unique point of view to an already passionate website founded by Andy Potter. Stephen also picked Buxton, giving the promising five-toll player a total of four votes. Be sure and give this site a look, but pack a lunch. Andy’s posts tend to be lengthy but that kind of passion can’t be rushed. Andy supports all things Houston and recognizes Dallas as public enemy #1. If the city of Dallas ever burns to the ground, Andy will be the first one they come looking for.
Last, but certainly not least, comes Terri Schlather of Tales from the Juice Box. Terri also went with Buxton. Check out Terri’s site for a fresh view of all things Astros. Terri provides a female perspective that can be appreciated by all fans. She attends a ton of games and knows the club inside and out.
Score it Buxton 5, Gausman 1, Almora 1, and I’ll go with Mark Appel. The Stanford pitcher is considered by many to be the safest pick in this years draft. After our conversation with Jeff Luhnow I must say that the safe pick may not be what the Astros have in mind. My colleagues may be onto something here with their Buxton picks. We will just have to wait until tomorrow to find out for sure.