One thing remains certain about the Houston Astros — they are getting imbued with a ton of young talent. They selected first overall in the past two first-year player drafts, selecting short stop Carlos Correa in 2011 and starting pitcher Mark Appel in 2012.
Since then, Correa has been everything that was expected and possibly even more, hitting well over .300 in his second season with the Astros. He hit nine home runs as his power continues to develop, and added 86 RBIs. As with all Astros, the next most important stat is strikeouts. Well, Correa only struck out 83 times in 450 at-bats. That’s solid.
Appel had a shorter season, being drafted this year, and shut down early. He did manage to put up a 3-1 record with a 3.79 ERA across 33 innings. It wasn’t overwhelming, but again, it was his first year, and next year figures to be a breakout season for the highly-touted Stanford product.
On to more important matters, who joins Correa and Appel as the third consecutive first overall pick?
The initial report is Carlos Rodon, a left handed pitcher from North Carolina State. Rodon was undefeated in his junior year, going 9-0 with a 1.57 ERA. He struck out 135 in just 114.2 innings. He appears to be the front runner, and who can argue with those stats?
Or maybe the Astros take another route. Maybe they feel like they have enough talent nearing the MLB that they can take a much more raw talent pick, such as Alex Jackson, a high school catcher and outfielder from California. Jackson’s stats are insane. In three years of Varsity baseball, he’s hit .372 with 36 home runs and only 67 strikeouts in 392 at-bats.
The Astros have also showed a penchant for taking Texas natives. If that is the case, they could lean towards young high school pitcher Tyler Kolek from Shepherd Highschool. Kolek is still growing, but already stands at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds and has hit 99 on the radar gun.
Another possibility is that the Astros capitalize on another draftee that didn’t originally sign, like Appel. Tyler Beede out of Vanderbilt declined to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, and his draft stock may benefit. At 6-foot-4, 214 pounds, he features a mid-90’s fastball and an already dominating change-up and curveball. Plus, Beede would be joining former Vanderbilt teammates Conrad Gregor and Anthony Kemp.
Whoever the Astros go with, it can’t be denied that they are gathering some of the best available talent for the coming years.