We take a look back at the Houston Astros picks in the 1999 MLB amateur draft.
Unlike many of their drafts in the 2000s, the Houston Astros managed to snag a few memorable major leaguers in their 1999 class. None of them became perennial All-Stars, but those are harder to find than you may think.
The Astros didn’t have their initial first round pick, which came at No. 29 overall. It went to the Padres as compensation for Houston’s signing of Ken Caminiti. The Padres used that pick on pitcher Omar Ortiz, who never reached the major leagues.
The Astros didn’t pick until No. 42 overall, which was a compensation pick for the loss of Randy Johnson. Plenty of talent had already come off the board by then, including Josh Hamilton, Josh Beckett, Ben Sheets, Barry Zito and Alex Rios.
First Five Rounds
With their supplemental first round pick at No. 42, the Astros selected outfielder Mike Rosamond out of Ole Miss. They’d also taken him out of high school in 1996. He only briefly made it to Triple-A, never reaching the majors. Players the team missed with this pick included Brian Roberts and Carl Crawford.
The team also received the Diamondbacks’ second round pick as compensation for Johnson, and they used it on high school catcher Jay Perez, who never went beyond Rookie League. Players who were picked after this included Brandon Phillips, John Lackey and Ryan Ludwick.
With their own second round pick, coming at No. 80 overall, the Astros took pitcher Travis Anderson out of the University of Washington. He made it as far as Double-A in his professional career. Players who went after this included Justin Morneau, Hank Blalock and Jon Rauch.
In the third round, the team selected high school pitcher Jimmy Barrett, who only made it to High-A ball in his five seasons in the organization. Players selected after him included Cody Ross, Kevin Mench and Angel Pagan.
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The Astros took Baylor outfielder Jon Toploski with their fourth round selection. He played six seasons in the organization and only briefly reached Triple-A. Players taken after this included Nate Robertson and Joe Saunders.
In the fifth round, the team took left-hander Mike Gallo out of Cal State Long Beach. He pitched out of the Astros bullpen in parts of four seasons from 2003 to 2006, compiling a 4.11 ERA in 160 appearances. Players who went after this included Shane Victorino, Erik Bedard, Aaron Harang and J.J. Putz.
Notable Later Picks
With their sixth round pick, the Astros grabbed outfielder Jason Lane out of USC. He hit .241/.315/.458 with 61 homers in parts of six seasons in Houston, including a 26-homer campaign during the team’s 2005 NL pennant season. He resurfaced as a pitcher with the Padres in 2014, allowing one run in 10.1 innings.
In the eighth round, the team took shortstop Chris Sampson out of Texas Tech. He played in low-A ball but retired in early 2000, returning in 2003 as a pitcher. He reached the majors in 2006 and played for the Astros in parts of five seasons, compiling a 4.42 ERA in 33 starts and 141 relief appearances.
There were two more players in this draft class to reach the majors, but the Astros did not sign them. Third baseman Greg Dobbs, the team’s 10th round pick, would play parts of 11 seasons in the majors with a .261/.306/.386 batting line. Their 28th round pick, pitcher Marcus Gwyn out of Rice, was re-drafted by Oakland in the seventh round in 2000 and made three major league appearances in 2007.