The Houston Astros have been picking from the top of the draft for the past three seasons, and 2015 will provide a brief respite–kind of. Instead of landing the number one overall pick, the Astros possess the #2 and #5 overall picks. The fifth pick is the pick they would generally receive from their placing in last season’s overall standings, while the second pick is compensation from the Brady Aiken fiasco. Having two of the first five picks in this year’s draft could be a major advantage for the team moving forward, which means there’s a lot of pressure that will build on Jeff Luhnow and company as June approaches.
This draft could be the team’s last chance at picking near the top of the draft class, and they’ll have to make it count. With the team set to improve in the coming years, the Houston Astros will likely be slotting lower and lower in the draft–at least that’s the hope among the fans.
With all of the attention that has been paid to new additions like Evan Gattis and Colby Rasmus, as well as the promise of young players like Jose Altuve and George Springer, 2015 could be the year that bucks the trend of losing seasons. If the team finishes at, or around .500 they’ll likely be picking from the middle of the pack in 2016.
While the franchise has had success with middle-round picks (Lance Berkman at #16 in 1997 and Brad Lidge at #17 in 1998) in the past, that was a different regime in charge. Of course, there are always stories of a player that was picked late that has blossomed into an All-Star player, but for all intents and purposes, 2015 will be the last draft where the Astros can pick a true game-changer like Carlos Correa.
If the Astros continue their climb to .500 and beyond, the draft will soon consist of role-players and less surefire bets. Of course the team can still incorporate these players into the mix at the major-league level, but their success rate will be lower.
Winning is a double-edged sword, but in this circumstance, bring on the wins.
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