A Look At The Potential Pick for the Astros With Past 17th Overall Picks.
The Houston Astros are no longer perennial top of the draft teams following reaching the playoffs in 2015 for the first time in a decade. The Astros lost in the ALDS to the Royals, but they do have an almost mid round pick with the 17th overall pick. The Astros are actually in a favorable draft position because of all the draft picks forfeited to sign free agents this past offseason.
The Astros go from three first-round picks last year, to one this year. This will be the first time in Jeff Luhnow’s Astros career that he will not have an early first round pick. This is uncharted territory for Luhnow and Mike Elias as they can’t focus on a few players, they have to anticipate which player could fall to them.
They have a few needs to address in the system such as a big time catching prospect or a pitcher for down the road, but don’t be expecting Buster Posey or Madison Bumgarner with the 17th overall pick, or should we? I wanted to take a look at the past decade’s drafts and see which player was taken with the 17th overall pick.
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2005 New York Yankees
The Yankees took shortstop C.J. Henry with the 17th overall pick, and he lasted four seasons in the minors before being released with a career .222 batting average with 17 homers and 110 RBIs over the four seasons. He never made it above the Class A level. Not a pick that will inspire Astros fans.
2006 San Diego Padres
The Padres took third baseman Matt Antonelli out of Wake Forest with the 17th overall pick. Antonelli lasted eight seasons in the minors and even made his MLB debut in 2008 with a .193 batting average in 57 big league at-bats with one homer. He had a breakout year in 2007 where he hit .307 with 21 homers and 78 RBI’s between Single-A and Double-A. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t do much else in his minor league career to earn another call to the bigs, 2013 was his last year.
2007 Texas Rangers
The Rangers took Blake Beavan with the 17th overall pick, who so far, has had the most extensive MLB career. He has a 16-20 record with a 4.61 ERA in 54 career MLB games, 44 of which were starts. All of his MLB service time has been with the Mariners from 2011-2014. The rest of the time, he has been a career minor leaguer, has not pitched in the big leagues since 2014. (PS, Bumgarner was the 10th overall pick.)
2008 Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays took first baseman David Cooper out of UC Berkeley, right behind the Brewers drafted Brett Lawrie with the 16th pick. Cooper has only played two seasons with the Blue Jays between 2011-2012, with an MLB career .270 batting average with six career homers. He is not currently in the minors in 2016, so his career may be over.
2009 Arizona Diamondbacks
Finally, we have an actual star who was drafted with the 17th overall pick, and his name is A.J. Pollock. Pollock broke out in 2015 to become an overnight star when he hit .315 with 20 homers and 76 RBIs while stealing 39 bases. Due to an injury prior to the season starting, he has yet to play in 2016, but his selection could give Astros fans some optimism.
2010 Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays took a guy named Sale with the 17th overall pick in 2010. Wait, you thought I meant Chris Sale (he was 13th overall), and I’m talking about Josh Sale out of Bishop Blanchet. Unlike Chris, Josh only played in the minor leagues for three seasons without making it to the big leagues. In 2012 he did hit ten homers, but his career never took off.
2011 Los Angeles Angels
Theis was a star studded draft, as George Springer was picked with the 11th overall pick in 2011 and Jose Fernandez was the 14th. The Astros division foe depends on the 2011 17th overall draft pick C.J. Cron. Cron is a career .257 batting average with 32 homers and 112 RBIs. He is a regular player, which can’t be said for most of the players on this list.
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2012 Toronto Blue Jays
D.J. Davis was drafted with the 17th overall pick, has yet to play above Class A, but his career .675 OPS has held him back. He shows extreme speed but hasn’t been able to get the promotions needed to advance.
2013 Chicago White Sox
The White Sox selected shortstop Tim Anderson with the 17th overall pick out of East Central Community College. This pick is too early to decide how well he plays, but he has shown some ability to get on base and get some stolen bases.
2014 Kansas City Royals
The Royals drafted Brandon Finnegan, who has since been traded and is now part of the Reds MLB rotation. This season, Finnegan has a 2-4 record with a 3.89 ERA.
2015 Clevland Indians
The Indians do something the Astros couldn’t do the previous year, draft and sign Brady Aiken, who was the 17th overall draft selection in 2015.
As you can see, the history of the 17th overall pick is not great, but player evaluation and development will be key to any player that is taken with any pick. The Astros will have to look at more players this year, which could help them narrow in on what they are looking for versus picking the best of the top three players. Prospects are not proven until they perform in the big leagues.
Happy Anniversary to my dear wife Holly who got me a George Springer autographed hat at the Astros game yesterday. Thanks for helping encourage me to continue to write about baseball.
***Stats from MLB.com and Draft History page***