We take a look back at the Houston Astros picks in the 1984 MLB amateur draft.
Besides being the title of my favorite book, 1984 was also a pretty solid draft year for the Houston Astros. Anytime you can come away with a future All-Star, you’ve done pretty well for yourself, and the team did just that.
The team’s first pick came at No. 17 overall, and there wasn’t quite as much talent off the board at that point as there had been in other drafts. The most notable players off the board were Mark McGwire and Jay Bell; others included Bill Swift, Cory Snyder and Shane Mack. The No. 1 overall pick by the Mets, outfielder Shawn Abner, compiled -1.3 WAR for his career.
First Two Rounds
With their first round pick, the Astros selected Chapman University right-hander Don August. They then traded him to the Brewers for pitcher Danny Darwin in Aug. 1986, and he went on to post a 4.64 ERA in four major league seasons. Players they missed here included Greg Maddux, Terry Mulholland and Norm Charlton.
The Astros were awarded the Angels’ second round pick (No. 34 overall) as compensation for the loss of free agent Frank LaCorte. With that pick, they took high school shortstop Terry Green. He played five seasons in the minor leagues but only briefly made it to Double-A. The most significant player they missed after this pick was outfielder Keith Miller.
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With their own second round pick (No. 45 overall), the Astros drafted junior college shortstop Karl Allaire. He played nine seasons in the minors, the majority of which were spent in Triple-A, but he never reached the majors. Players going after this pick included Tom Glavine and Al Leiter.
Through the Fifth
In the third round, the Astros hit paydirt with San Jose State third baseman Ken Caminiti. He played 10 seasons with the team split between two stints, though his best years came in San Diego. Players going after this included Greg Myers and Sean Berry.
With their fourth round pick, the team took right-hander Don Dunster out of Saint Mary’s College of California. He played six seasons in the minors, only briefly reaching Triple-A. Players they missed here included Mike Henneman, who would briefly pitch for the Astros in 1995 after they acquired him in exchange for Phil Nevin.
In the fifth round, the Astros took high school catcher Dan Walters. They traded him to the Padres in Dec. 1988, and he played in two major league seasons for San Diego in 1992 and 1993, totaling 0.1 WAR. Players they missed here included Jamie Moyer and Lance Johnson.
Notable Later Picks
In the seventh round, the Astros drafted Hawaii outfielder Chuck Jackson, who appeared in 81 games over two seasons in Houston, hitting .221/.284/.325 with a pair of homers. They didn’t sign their eighth round pick, outfielder/first baseman John Vander Wal, who would be re-drafted by the Expos in the third round in 1987 and had a 14-year career, largely spent as a pinch hitter extraordinaire.
Other players the Astros missed in this draft included Dante Bichette, Chuck Finley, Jeff Fassero, Jeff Nelson, John Wetteland, Jeff Brantley, Jody Reed and Jack McDowell.