Astros: Revisiting the 2003 MLB amateur draft hits, misses

We take a look back at the Houston Astros picks in the 2003 MLB amateur draft.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Houston Astros had a pretty good draft in 2004, as we recently examined. The draft before that, however, wasn’t quite as strong. They did have a few players reach the majors, but none had particularly noteworthy careers.

To start, the team did not have its first round pick, as it went to the Giants as compensation for the Astros signing Jeff Kent. The Giants used that pick on Rice University pitcher David Aardsma, who would provide a total of 1.8 WAR in 331 appearances in the major leagues.

Other notable players who went in the first round included Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, John Danks, Chad Billingsley, Carlos Quentin and Aaron Hill. Interestingly, the top six picks in this draft only accumulated a total of 18.5 WAR; three never reached the majors, and the three that did would never really live up to their potential.

Second through Fifth Rounds

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With their second round pick, coming at No. 59 overall, the Astros selected pitcher Jason Hirsh out of Cal Lutheran. He made nine starts in 2006, pitching to a 6.04 ERA, and then was traded to the Rockies in the ill-fated Jason Jennings deal, which we recently reviewed. He pitched just two more years in the majors and finished with -0.3 WAR for his career. Players selected after him included Andre Ethier, Andrew Miller and Shaun Marcum.

In the third round, the Astros took high school outfielder Drew Stubbs. He did not sign, instead opting to attend the University of Texas. He was re-drafted eighth overall in 2006 by the Reds and put up 7.9 WAR in a nine-season career. Players taken after him included Sean Rodriguez, Matt Harrison, Jonathan Papelbon and Michael Bourn.

With their fourth round pick, the Astros took outfielder Josh Anderson out of Eastern Kentucky. He hit .358/.413/.403 in 21 games in 2007 before being traded to the Braves for reliever Oscar Villarreal. He again hit well in limited time in 2008 but struggled in a full season of action in 2009, and that would prove to be the last season of his major league career. There weren’t any notable major leaguers drafted shortly after him.

The team drafted left-hander Josh Muecke out of Loyola Marymount in the fifth round. He made it to Triple-A but pitched to a 5.35 ERA there in parts of four seasons and did not crack the majors. Players taken after him included Sean Marshall, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Eric O’Flaherty and Matt Kemp.

Notable Later Picks

The next Astros pick to reach the majors was 13th-round high school pitcher Jimmy Barthmaier. He was selected off waivers by the Pirates in Nov. 2007 and made three starts for them in 2008, pitching to a 10.45 ERA. Those would be his only big league appearances.

In the 14th round, the team took high school outfielder Mike Dunn, but he did not sign. He fell to the 33rd round in 2004 but signed with the Yankees and eventually emerged in the majors as a left-handed reliever. He owns an even 4.00 ERA across 11 major league seasons.

With their 19th round pick, the Astros drafted second baseman Edwin Maysonet out of Delta State. He appeared in 46 games over the 2008 and 2009 seasons, compiling a .276/.317/.342 batting line. He reemerged to appear in 30 games with the 2012 Brewers, but that would be his final major league appearance.

In the 23rd round, the Astros selected Baylor third baseman Mark Saccomanno, a local product who attended Klein Forest High School. His major league career consisted of 11 plate appearances over 10 games in 2008, where he managed two hits — a double and a home run.

Finally, the team took high school pitcher Logan Ondrusek with their 36th round pick, but he opted to attend McLennan Community College in Waco. He was drafted in the 13th round in 2005 by the Reds and pitched to a 4.03 ERA in 288 relief appearances over six seasons.