Astros: Revisiting the 1987 MLB amateur draft hits, misses
We take a look back at the Houston Astros picks in the 1987 MLB amateur draft.
Drafting in MLB is tough, as the vast majority of a team’s picks don’t pan out at all. If you can find even two future impact players in one draft class, you can consider it a success. The Houston Astros did that in 1988, as we recently revisited, and they also did it in 1987 as well.
The team didn’t pick until 22nd overall in this draft, so there were several notable players they didn’t have a shot at, including No. 1 overall pick Ken Griffey Jr. Some other notable names who were taken before them included Kevin Appier, Jack McDowell, Delino DeShields and future Astros infielder Bill Spiers.
In spite of that, the Astros did pretty darn well for themselves. They struck gold with their first round pick and also found a late round gem to become part of their mid-90s core. As far as drafts go, this one went pretty well overall.
First Five Rounds
With their first round pick, the team selected Seton Hall catcher Craig Biggio. The man needs no introduction in Houston as he went on to become a franchise icon and forge a Hall of Fame career with 3,060 hits. In terms of career WAR, he was second only to Griffey among players signed from this draft. Notable players who went after this included Albert Belle, Travis Fryman, and future Astros Pete Harnisch and Derek Bell.
In the second round, the team took UCLA right-hander Randy Hennis. He made three appearances in 1990 totaling 9.2 innings and didn’t allow a run, but sadly never got another chance in the majors. Players going after this included Ray Lankford, Jaime Navarro and John Vander Wal.
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The Astros went with high school shortstop Dave Henderson in the third round. He played six minor league seasons but never reached Double-A. In spite of that, the team didn’t miss much here. The most notable player taken after this was Wes Chamberlain.
In the fourth round, the team drafted high school right-hander Joe Locke. He played just three seasons in the minors and failed to advance beyond A-ball. Players the team missed here included Mike Timlin, Steve Sparks and Terry Mathews.
With their fifth round pick, the Astros took Indiana State left-hander Harold Allen. He briefly made it up to Triple-A, but gave up 26 earned runs in 12 innings there and never reached it again. Players the team missed here included Dave Hollins, Darren Fletcher, Frank Castillo and Greg Colbrunn. Others taken in this draft included Steve Finley, Robb Nen, Reggie Sanders and Brad Ausmus.
Notable Later Picks
In the 30th round, the Astros took a junior college pitcher named Darryl Kile. He would join the big league club in 1991 and become a fixture in the rotation for seven seasons, winning 71 games with a 3.79 ERA before leaving in free agency. He was a two-time All-Star in Houston and finished fifth in the Cy Young voting in 1997. His initials have been displayed on the left field facade at Minute Maid Park since his untimely death in 2002 at age 33.
The Astros found left-handed reliever Al Osuna in the 17th round out of Stanford. He put up a 3.75 ERA with 14 saves in four seasons out of the Houston bullpen. The team also drafted longtime major league pitcher Scott Erickson in the 34th round but did not sign him.
A couple other draft picks would reach the majors but had inconsequential careers. Finding both Biggio and Kile in the same draft is a pretty good haul, and it helped form the basis for those mid-1990s teams.