Astros History

Astros: Revisiting the 1993 MLB amateur draft hits, misses

23 Apr 2000: Billy Wagner #13 of the Houston Astros in action during the game against the San Diego Padres at Enron Field in Houston, Texas. The Padres defeated the Astros 11-10. Mandatory Credit: Chris Covatta /Allsport
23 Apr 2000: Billy Wagner #13 of the Houston Astros in action during the game against the San Diego Padres at Enron Field in Houston, Texas. The Padres defeated the Astros 11-10. Mandatory Credit: Chris Covatta /Allsport /
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We take a look back at the Houston Astros picks in the 1993 MLB amateur draft.

The Houston Astros spent most of the early 1990s setting the stage for their success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The 1993 draft was just one of those steps for them, as they did manage to find one future cornerstone in closer Billy Wagner.

The rest of this draft was staggeringly uneventful for the Astros, though. They were without their second and third round picks thanks to free agent signings. Their second rounder went to the Pirates as compensation for Doug Drabek, while their third rounder went to the Reds for Greg Swindell.

Though they did pick 12th overall, there were still a few notable players taken ahead of them. Alex Rodriguez went first overall, while Trot Nixon and Brian Anderson also were off the board when their pick came around.

First Five Rounds

With their first round selection, the Astros grabbed Wagner out of Ferrum College in Virginia. Billy the Kid would save 225 games in nine seasons in Houston before being traded to the Phillies after the 2003 season. He finished his career with 422 saves, a 2.31 ERA and 0.998 WHIP in 16 seasons. You could argue he’s the game’s best closer not named Mariano Rivera.

Though this was an excellent pick, it’s interesting to see who they passed on. Torii Hunter, Chris Carpenter and Derrek Lee were taken within the next eight picks, while Scott Rolen and Jeff Suppan went early in the second round. Beyond that, though, they didn’t miss much. The most notable player they missed by losing their second and third rounders was Matt Clement.

With that second rounder, the Pirates took left-hander Kevin Pickford, who made 16 major league appearances with the Padres in 2002. With the Astros’ third rounder, the Reds took right-hander Steven Wilkerson, who never reached the major leagues.

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With their fourth round pick, the Astros drafted shortstop Steve Verduzco. He played three seasons in the team’s system and only briefly reached Double-A, posting a career .642 OPS. The most notable player taken after this pick was Jason McDonald.

In the fifth round, the team went with high school pitcher/first baseman Derek Root. He played first base his first two years in the system before switching to pitcher. He briefly made it to Triple-A but never did establish himself there. Players taken after this included future Astros Paul Bako, Peter Munro and Brian Moehler.

Notable Later Picks, Or Lack Thereof

Wagner was the team’s only selection in this draft to have a significant MLB career. Only one other signee even reached the majors, and that was 44th round infielder Bry Nelson, who appeared in 25 games with the Red Sox in 2002.

Two other players would go on to reach the majors as well. Their seventh round pick, pitcher Jaime Bluma, would be re-drafted by the Royals in 1994 and make 17 relief appearances for them in 1996. The Astros would sign their 30th round pick, pitcher Jason Green, the next year, and he would make 14 relief appearances for the team in 2000.

Outside of that, Wagner was the only player of consequence the team drafted in 1993. They made good on their first round pick for sure, but they failed to get anything out of the rest of that draft class.

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