We take a look back at the Houston Astros picks in the 1995 MLB amateur draft.
While the Astros managed to find a pair of franchise cornerstones in the 1996 and 1997 drafts, they weren’t quite so lucky the year before. The most accomplished player in the team’s 1995 draft class made all of his major league contributions after he left Houston.
The team picked 22nd overall, so there was a ton of talent that left the board ahead of them. Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Kerry Wood, Geoff Jenkins, Darin Erstad and Matt Morris were taken ahead of the Astros pick, as was Jose Cruz Jr, who went third overall to the Mariners. The team could have a shot at picking Cruz’s son, Trei Cruz, in this month’s draft.
First Five Rounds
With their first round pick, the Astros selected high school pitcher Tony McKnight. He reached the majors in 2000 and made nine total starts for Houston between the 2000 and 2001 seasons, going 5-1 with a 3.91 ERA. He was traded to Pittsburgh for reliever Mike Williams at the trade deadline in 2001. McKnight posted a 5.19 ERA in 12 starts for the Pirates and never saw the majors again. Players who went after this pick included Carlos Beltran, Jarrod Washburn, Michael Barrett and Mark Bellhorn.
In the second round, the Astros took high school pitcher Eric Ireland. He made it as far as Triple-A, but only posted a 5.24 ERA there. Players the team missed with this pick included Sean Casey, Brett Tomko, Randy Winn, Ryan Dempster and Bronson Arroyo.
With their third round pick, the team took Texas A&M outfielder Chad Alexander. He was a bit of a tragic case as he played 10 seasons in the minors and appeared at the Triple-A level in seven of those, but never cracked the majors. Players missed with this pick included J.J. Putz, Russ Ortiz and future Astros shortstop Adam Everett, though Putz and Everett did not sign.
The team went with Western Michigan pitcher Brian Sikorski in the fourth round. He appeared in 10 games with the Rangers in 2000 and then appeared in 30 games in 2006 between the Padres and Indians, amassing a career 5.40 ERA. Players the team missed here included Doug Mientkiewicz and Luke Hudson.
Then in the fifth round, the Astros drafted high school catcher Mike Rose. He appeared in 27 major league games from 2004 to 2006 with the Athletics, Dodgers and Cardinals. Players selected after this included Joe Nathan, Jason LaRue and Brian Schneider.
Notable Later Picks
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Probably the most notable pick from this draft class was second baseman Aaron Miles, who the team took in the 19th round. They lost him in the Rule 5 Draft in Dec. 2000, and he went on to hit .281/.320/.352 in nine major league seasons for the White Sox, Rockies, Cardinals, Cubs and Dodgers.
In the 24th round, the Astros drafted left-hander Jeriome Robertson. He won 15 games as a member of the team’s rotation in 2003, but he did it with a 5.10 ERA. In three major league seasons, he pitched to a 5.71 ERA in 32 starts and 19 relief appearances.
Two other signees in this class would reach the majors. Their 14th round pick, outfielder Barry Wesson, appeared in 25 games between the Astros and Angels from 2002 to 2003. Their 32nd round pick, outfielder Tim Hamulack, made 39 appearances as a relief pitcher between the Mets and Dodgers from 2005 to 2006.
There was one draftee who didn’t sign and who would eventually reach the majors. Their 35th round pick, pitcher Eric Eckenstahler, would be re-drafted by the Tigers in the 32nd round in 1999. He made 27 relief appearances for Detroit and totaled a 3.80 ERA.