Astros: Revisiting the 1982 MLB amateur draft hits, misses

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 18: Mark Bailey of the Houston Astros poses for a photo during Photo Day at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on February 18, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 18: Mark Bailey of the Houston Astros poses for a photo during Photo Day at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on February 18, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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We take a look back at the Houston Astros picks in the 1982 MLB amateur draft.

As far as drafts go, the Houston Astros class of 1982 certainly wasn’t the best they ever had, but it wasn’t the worst either. They did draft some players who’d have major league careers, though none of them were really close to being All-Stars.

The team’s first pick came at No. 15 overall, and a few notable players were off the board by then. First overall pick Shawon Dunston had a lengthy career, and soon-to-be phenom Dwight Gooden went fifth overall to the Mets. Infielder Spike Owen went sixth overall to the Mariners.

First Five Rounds

With their first round pick, the Astros selected high school outfielder Steve Swain. He played three seasons in the minors, never advancing past Single-A. Players taken after this included David Wells, Todd Worrell and Lance McCullers Sr. Barry Bonds was taken after this as well (by the Giants, no less), but did not sign.

In the second round, the Astros went with NC State first baseman Louie Meadows. He appeared in 87 games with the team over four years, compiling a .186/.244/.336 line with five home runs. Players taken after this included Jimmy Key and Roger McDowell. Barry Larkin and Bo Jackson were also drafted but did not sign.

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With their third round pick, the team drafted Colorado State right-hander Mark Knudson. He pitched to a 5.20 ERA in parts of two seasons with the Astros before pitching to a 4.43 ERA in parts of six seasons with the Brewers. Players they missed here included Mike Greenwell and Dan Pasqua. Randy Johnson and Will Clark were drafted but did not sign.

The team selected Purdue shortstop Richard Thompson with their fourth round pick. He played just two seasons in the minors, never going beyond A-ball. Players taken after this included Gerald Young and Mike Maddux, who would briefly pitch for the Astros.

In the fifth round, the team drafted Missouri-St. Louis outfielder Mike Stellern. He played four minor league seasons and only briefly made it to Double-A. Players drafted after this included Steve Buechele, Alvin Davis and Pat Borders. B.J. Surhoff was drafted but did not sign.

Other players they missed later in this draft included Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro (who did not sign), Kenny Rogers, Bret Saberhagen, Mark McLemore, Terry Pendleton, Vince Coleman, Tom Browning and future Astros Jim Deshaies and “Wild Thing” Mitch Williams.

Notable Later Picks

In the sixth round, the team drafted Missouri State second baseman Mark Bailey, who converted to catcher in the minors. He appeared in 322 games with the Astros from 1984 to 1988, hitting .223/.340/.340, and then appeared in another two seasons with the Giants. He’s been a coach in the Houston organization since 1998, currently serving as the minor league catching coordinator.

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Only one other signee would reach the majors, which was their 19th round pick, Rowan University catcher Jeff Datz. He would appear in seven major league games with the Tigers in 1989. Aside from that, they got nothing more out of this draft, so it’s hard to qualify it as a good one.

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