With no selection in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft, the Houston Astros turned to day two and three to pick up some key prospects. The farm system ranks poorly compared to other top teams and rebuilders, so who did they get on the final day of the draft?
The draft won’t ultimately retool the farm system, but it can fill holes where needed. Most of the Astros top prospects come in international free agency, so don’t fret if these new guys don’t turn into All-Stars.
With the 2021 MLB Draft in full swing, let’s take a look at the Astros’ day three picks.
Round 11, 328th Pick: SS Chad Stevens, University of Portland
Chad Stevens slashed .333 in 201 at-bats this past season, as he also flashed his wheels stealing 80% of the bases he attempted to.
Round 12, 358th Pick: P Rhett Kouba, Dallas Baptist University
Texas native, Rhett Kouba, posted a 2.77 ERA over 74.2 innings in 2021 with 87 strikeouts. The right-hander allowed as many walks (27) as runs this past season.
Round 13, 388th Pick: 2B Kobe Kato, University of Arizona
Hawaiian born infielder, Kobe Kato, has also played innings behind the dish in college. The left-handed hitter slashed .350/.460/.469 this past season. This feels like a left-handed swinging Craig Biggio, based on positions and college numbers.
Round 14, 418th Pick: P Bryant Salgado, Oregon State University
The Astros went with homegrown pitcher Bryan Salgado, as he attended Klein Forest High School and San Jacinto Community College. The right-hander posted a 1.01 ERA through 26.2 innings in 2021.
Round 15, 448th Pick: P Adrian Chaidez, UCLA
As a California native, pitcher Adrian Chaidez will be taking his talents to Texas with a 2.20 ERA over 32.2 innings in 2021. The right-hander kept his opponents’ batting average at .128.
Round 16, 478th Pick: P Nic Swanson, Northeastern State University (OK)
Right-hander pitcher Nic Swanson comes from a small college but has also played first base in his tenure. He struck out 106 batters in 87 innings in 2021. Like many prospects, Swanson is grateful for an organization to draft him.
Round 17, 508th Pick: 3B Justin Williams, Penn State University
No, this is not the St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder. Third baseman Justin Williams is a slugging right-hander that doesn’t walk a lot.
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Round 18, 538th Pick: 2B Will Wagner, Liberty University
The name looks familiar, because Will Wagner is the son of Billy Wagner, former Astros’ hurler. His father calls him a “sleeper” pick, and with a lot of pop behind his left-handed swing, he slashed .333/.399/.538 in 2021.
Round 19, 568th Pick: SS Hector G. Nieves, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (PR)
While coming from the island, Hector G. Nieves recently turned 18-years-old. The left-handed hitter is ranked seventh among shortstops from Puerto Rico for his class.
Round 20, 598th Pick: OF Jackson Linn, Cambridge Rindge & Latin School (MA)
For the final Houston selection, the Astros took Jackson Linn, a high schooler committed to Tulane University. He is ranked fourth among outfielders in Massachusetts for his grade.
This concludes the 2021 MLB Draft for the Astros, where the front office drafted eight pitcher and 11 position players (15 college players and four high schoolers). Keeping it on the farm, Jose Rivera, who was returned by the Los Angeles Angels after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft, underwent elbow surgery to address a stress fracture.
For the Sugar Land Skeeters, Austin Pruitt will make his fifth and final rehab appearance on Tuesday. His rehab clock comes to an end this week and is anticipated to join the big-league roster with Ralph Garza Jr. optioned.