Another outfielder joins the Astros deep minor league system courtesy of the second round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
After taking high school pitching phenom, right-hander Forrest Whitley, with their 17th overall pick, the Astros turned around and used the 61st overall pick on a college outfielder, Ronnie Dawson. Even though the 21-year old outfielder with a football past wasn’t on most people’s radar until lately, the Astros seem thrilled to land a left-handed hitter with potential in Dawson.
The type of power and speed that Dawson offers will surely catch the attention of all Astros fans. If he develops the tools he currently has, then the Astros may have an intriguing outfield/DH option in the future. Without digging too much, the primary concern that jumps out with Dawson is his past ACL/MCL surgeries and defensive ability.
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Though he has speed, the past knee issues are a bit concerning. That, in turn, could diminish his impact in the field if the knees prove too bothersome. But the main thought to keep in my mind is that the Astros selected him for his bat (.419 OBP/.611 SLG in 2016), not his glove.
Dawson also manages to steal his fair share of bases (21-out-of-25 attempts), and will provide the minor league affiliates with some power (13 home runs). He also draws his fair share of walks in comparison with his strikeouts (37 BB/43 SO). All in all, Dawson has the appearance of a solid hitter with plenty of promise.
The skill that Dawson possesses is apparent, and I am curious to see how quick the Astros may push him into the system if the early returns are good. Of course, there is no crystal ball, but this pick grants the Astros more flexibility with their outfield down in the minors. But unlike Whitley, the Astros won’t hold Dawson back if he delivers right away. This kind of potential dual threat doesn’t come along often, and the Astros front office recognized that tonight.
Overall, this is a solid second round pick for the Astros. While Dawson does come with his concerns (in fact, all draftees do in some way), it is clear that he has a bright future if he maintains his body and develops his already impressive toolset. Otherwise, the Astros wouldn’t have used a second round pick on the Ohio State Buckeye. Solid first day by all appearances for the Astros in the 2016 MLB Draft.
**Statistics provided by OhioStateBuckeyes.com**