We are now one day away from the 2015 MLB Draft and the Houston Astros have the second and fifth overall picks. This means that not only do they have the chance to add high-level talent immediately into their system but it also means that, unlike years past, it is unclear who that might be.
The Astros will not know who is available to them until the Arizona Diamondbacks select the first overall pick. While most believe that will be a shortstop, Dansby Swanson from Vanderbilt or high school prospect Brendan Rodgers out of Florida, there is some speculation that both may still be available when it is the Astros turn.
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Johnathan Mayo of MLB.com has reported that there may be some discussions between Arizona and the top catching prospect, Tyler Stephenson. Stephenson is the only catching prospect worthy of a high pick, listed as the 18th overall prospect. Dave Stewart, the general manager of the Diamondbacks, has made it clear that their system is lacking at the catching position.
In light of the fact that super-prospect Peter O’Brien has moved to the outfield, Stewart recently made a trade for Welington Castillo but obviously their system is without a high-end option at the catching position. This move would also allow Arizona to make a below-market deal to save money for later rounds.
Finally, this is also Stewart’s first draft as general manager, making him somewhat of a wild card.
For the purposes of this article, I will agree with Eric Huysman’s assessment in his post here and predict that they select Brendan Rodgers at number one. However, be prepared for the Astros to have their pick of all shortstops available to them. If all shortstops are available to the Astros, I would predict that they choose the current best player in the draft, Swanson or even Bregman, over the future potential of Brendan Rodgers.
Selecting a college shortstop at number two, whether it be Swanson or Bregman allows the Astros to go one of two ways with the number five pick. Jeff Luhnow can decide between a college pitcher and a high school bat. The top pitching prospects this year are mostly college pitchers with question marks. There is some question among scouts whether any of the top college arms will be starters long-term.
While the Astros could use this pick to potentially bolster their bullpen this year, they may not want to use such a high pick on a pitcher that they don’t see as a starting pitcher long-term. Taking a college-experienced bat with the second pick allows them to choose a high-level high school bat with the fifth pick and Kyle Tucker would be a perfect fit.
Kyle Tucker is the younger brother of current Astro, Preston Tucker and by some accounts may be a better hitter and athlete then his older brother. Tucker is rated as the best high school hitting prospect not named Brendan Rodgers. The Astros may also be able to reach a friendly deal allowing them to save some signing money for prospects later in the draft.
The other option is to draft a college pitcher that may be able to help the Astros in their drive to the playoffs this year. Dillon Tate of UC-Santa Barbara, Carson Fulmer of Vanderbilt and Tyler Jay would all be options if the Astros decide that this is the direction they choose to go.
However, the fact that there are some question marks as to each of their longevity as starting pitchers in the future leads me to believe that the Astros, especially the current management, would not use such a high round pick on a future bullpen asset. That is why I believe that the pick will be Kyle Tucker.
When all is said and done, I believe the Astros will come away with a college shortstop, either Swanson or Bregman and Kyle Tucker. These players would be great additions to a growing list of future Astros stars and should excite every Houston fan for years to come.
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