If you were like me, you were surprised when Astros Legend Enos Cabell called out Thomas Eshelman’s name with the 46th overall pick. Where is he on the list? Oh, he’s way down there at the 98th best draft prospect by MLB Pipeline, which means that there has to be 4o better prospects before him. So why did the Astros reach for him at the end of the top-100 rankings? The answer: Jeff Luhnow must have seen something in him and decided not to wait until the third round.
With the 46th pick, the Astros select Thomas Eshelman
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When the Astros were on the clock for the 46th pick, I was rooting for Michael Matuella, Justin Hopper, or Cody Ponce. Yes, Matuella recently hadTommy John
surgery, but he is still a first round value you could have in the second round of the draft.
Even though Justin Hopper projects as a reliever, he still throws 98 mph left-handed. Some of my friends were rooting for Cody Ponce. Eshelman is described as a guy who is not a hard-throwing phenom type, but instead he knows how to pitch. The Junior from Cal State Fullerton is the ace of his college team, and his team is currently in the playoff run.
His 2015 Stats for Cal State Fullerton
Eshelman had a 1.61 ERA with five complete games, and two of those were shutouts. His record so far is 8-5 with 125 strikeouts in 123.1 innings. The best thing is that in 123.1 innings while only walking six batters all season. His scouting report says that his control is above average.
According to MLB Pipeline, his fastball sits between 90 and 91, but can touch 93 at times. He appears to have a smooth delivery that can be deceptive to the hitters. His best breaking pitch could be the changeup, but he does throw a curveball and slider.
He could be major league ready quickly, but profiles as more of a back of the rotation type pitcher who doesn’t embarrass himself.
Below is a quote from Bleacher Report grading the Astros draft.
"“Eshelman is the prototypical ‘pitchability’ college starter, as his stuff is average across the board, but he has some of the best command in the entire class. His ceiling isn’t all that high, but he should be able to contribute in some form.”-Bleacher Report."
Bleacher Report gave the Astros an A for the pick. Hopefully, he can become the Steve Avery on the Astros, behind Greg Maddux (Lance McCullers), Tom Glavine (Dallas Keuchel), and John Smoltz (Vincent Velasquez). Maybe jumping a little at our young pitchers capabilities, but the Astros got better during day one of the draft.
Pick #46: Thomas Eshelman
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