Astros Draft

Astros Draft: Looking at the positions of need for early picks

ehuysman78
Apr 20, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Chris Devenski (right) celebrates with catcher Brian McCann after the final out to defeat the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 20, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Chris Devenski (right) celebrates with catcher Brian McCann after the final out to defeat the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Backup

Mar 17, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Tony Kemp (18) against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park. The Astros won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Tony Kemp (18) against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park. The Astros won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

There are several names I could list here. Teoscar Hernandez and Tony Kemp both have major league experience in which they played well, but I am going to stick with the Tucker family on this one. Preston Tucker has some major league experience as well, as he hit .243 with 13 home runs his rookie season in 2015 before an injury-riddled 2016 ruined his stock as a prospect.

Tucker is a solid left-handed bat with above average power, and the ability to drive the ball to all corners of the park. He doesn’t strike out a ton, striking out only 68 times in 300 at bats in 2015, and at the age of 26, he has a lot of good baseball ahead of him. For the Fresno Grizzlies this season, Tucker is hitting .253 with 11 home runs, and an on-base percentage at .292. Where Tucker falls short, however, is his athleticism and versatility.

Preston is limited to left field and first base. His best spot is probably as a Designated hitter. He does not have a great arm, and he is not particularly fast on his feet. In his extended time in Houston in 2015, his defense was lackluster. This limits him to DH duty or even pinch hitting. He has value as a left-handed power bat, but he does not project well as an everyday starter.

Still, Preston Tucker could see time in Houston if something were to happen and left-handed hitting was a need. He is more proven than fellow lefty slugger AJ Reed, and he would be productive in Houston if need be.

Depth

My pick for a depth guy in the system isn’t the name you are going to be expecting. While Ramon Laureano and Daz Cameron both show some solid potential, Jason Martin is an athletic, productive outfielder at Double-A Corpus who I have been following for the past few seasons. Martin was drafted out of high school in the eighth round of the 2013 MLB draft, and his development has been a fun one to watch.

Only 17 at the time he was drafted, Martin has developed into a solid outfield prospect. A Career .267 minor league average doesn’t sound great, but if you look into his numbers, you can see his progression. At 18, he hit .251 in the rookie league, before struggling at Tri-City in 2014, hitting only .221. Since then, he has yet to finish a season under .270, and last season, Martin broke out.

He slugged 23 home runs for Lancaster, and followed that up by tearing apart A ball this season with Buies Creek, hitting .287 with seven home runs and nine stolen bases in 46 games. He was recently called up to Corpus with fellow prospect Kyle Tucker, and through 6 games, is hitting .217 with two home runs.

Martin may need a season or two in AA ball, but his development has been a fun one to track, and he could be the next under the radar prospect of Jeff Luhnow’s drafts to break out as a legitimate prospect.

Need: Moderate, Level 3.

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