Astros News

Astros Draft: Rounding out the top 5 picks dominated by CF’s

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HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 18: Jeff Luhnow addresses the media after being named President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Houston Astros and received a contract extension that carries through the 2023 season during a press conference at Minute Maid Park on June 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 18: Jeff Luhnow addresses the media after being named President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Houston Astros and received a contract extension that carries through the 2023 season during a press conference at Minute Maid Park on June 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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The Astros have completed two days of the draft through round ten. Let’s examine the top five that were heavy on position players with one pitcher picked.

Position players and their bats, especially center fielders, seemed to be the dominating theme the first couple of days of the Astros‘ 2019 draft. After catcher Korey Lee was selected #1 by Houston, the next four picks were two center fielders and a shortstop, with the first pitcher being picked in the fifth round.

Let’s take a quick look at each player that was drafted and have high hopes of making it to the Big Leagues some day. The #1 pick, Korey Lee, has already been covered by James Wehr in a previous article.

Round 2, 68th Pick – Grae Kessinger  SS

Here’s one of those familiar names I mentioned. Grae Kessinger is the grandson of All-Star Don Kessinger, also a SS, who had a successful 16-year career in the Majors, mostly with the Chicago Cubs. His father, Kevin, was also drafted by the Cubs and had a short career in the Minors and his uncle, Keith, had a short stint in the Majors with the Reds.

Grae is a junior out of Ole Miss who started out a little slow batting .175 in his freshman year. After fine-tuning his swing he got that up to .300 in 2018 as a sophomore. Last season Kessinger had an average of .332 but batted .405 in SEC play. He has eclipsed an .850 OPS the last two seasons.

Kessinger is considered to have an average arm at best, but with good instincts on the field. It’s said he may be transferred to second in the Majors and possibly be a utility player. He was First Team All-SEC and Third Team All-American.

Round 3, 106th Pick – Jordan Brewer CF

Brewer is a junior out of the University of Michigan and Big Ten Conference Player of the Year. His first love was football and was on the radars of both Michigan and Wisconsin as a recruit to play wide receiver. All that disappeared when he dislocated his shoulder his senior year and schools started looking elsewhere.

Due to the fact that he was concentrating on and recruited more for football in high school, he played his first two years of college ball at Lincoln Trail Community College. He then transferred to Michigan and played one season as a junior.

Being a wide receiver recruited by major football schools is a testament to Brewer’s speed. He stole 20 bases this season in the 53 games played. He had a batting average of .343 and slugged .608 with 12 home runs. Although he played most of his college career as a center fielder, because of their needs, Michigan played him more in right field and at first base.

With Brewer’s speed, he is more suitable at center field and has the potential to be one of those rare 20/20 players with natural power and speed.

Round 4, 136th Pick: Colin Barber  CF

Barber is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, California. He is a center fielder that bats and throws left-handed. He had an exceptional freshman season batting .465 and 28 RBIs already drawing the attention of some scouts.

But in his sophomore year, Barber broke his leg and wasn’t able to play again until his junior year. He didn’t skip a beat in his return with a .449 average and knocked in 39 runs. His senior year he even improved those numbers hitting .493 with 42 RBIs and 10 homers.

He has a strong and accurate arm in the outfield and compliments that with an above average speed giving him the capability to play the corner positions as well. Barber was named the  Most Valuable Player of the Northern Section, which is the entire region where his high school played.

He has committed to the University of Oregon, so he’s got a big decision to make. He apparently got the draft call while he was sitting in class and bolted out of his classroom, ran to his high school coach, and gave him a big hug thanking him. That may give an indication of where he’ll go.

Round 5, 166th Pick: Hunter Brown RHP

The junior from Wayne State, a Division II college in Michigan, might have been a steal as the 166th pick in the fifth round. MLB had the right-handed pitcher ranked in the top 100 draft prospects coming in at number 89.

This past season, Brown started 14 games and ended up undefeated with a record of 9-0. In the 85.1 innings of work, he struck out 114 batters against only 39 walks. This was the first season he was primarily a starter after beginning his college career as a reliever and splitting time his sophomore year starting and coming in at relief.

Next. Astros option Corbin Martin back to AAA, Framber Valdez gets his spot. dark

Brown has four pitches in his arsenal, a two-seam and four-seam fastball complemented by a changeup and a slider. His fastball sits at around 92-93 MPH and has topped out as high as 98. Both fastballs have a nice bite to them and his velocity has increased year over year.

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