Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mayo, on the Astros' 2009 draft class

Jonathan Mayo has a look at the Astros' 2009 draft class:

Houston went the high-school route with their first four picks, clearly going with who they thought was the best available player in each spot instead of perhaps going with "safer" college players who could conceivably get to the big leagues faster. They did make up for that later on with a slew of college and junior-college picks. The final tally showed 27 of the 36 players signed did come from those ranks...

...And perhaps most important, the Astros didn't waste any time getting this talent going in the system. With just one exception, every pick who signed did so before June was over. If nothing beats experience, then the Astros are way ahead of the game with this Draft class.

On Jiovanni Mier:
The top high-school shortstop in the Draft class, Mier should actually be able to stay at short thanks to a great arm, smooth actions and good range. He impressed those who saw him in the Appalachian League during his debut on both sides of the ball. He hit .276/.380/.484 over 192 at-bats and looks like the Astros hitting prospect with the highest upside throughout the system.

On Tanner Bushue:
Bushue didn't get to pitch a ton even though he signed quickly because of a back injury. He did get in 22 1/3 Gulf Coast League innings, posting a 2.42 ERA and .220 batting average against, striking out 19 and walking just five. He's expected to be fine for Spring Training and it should be interesting to see how this projectable right-hander progresses when healthy.

On Telvin Nash:
Coming from the same high school as 2008 No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham, Nash has some serious raw power. He didn't show much of it during his debut in the GCL, where he hit .218/.280/.324 with 45 strikouts in 40 games. He did show some improvement with a .259/.317/.379 August, but he'll have to tighten up his swing some so he can tap into that power potential.

On Jonathan Meyer:
Taken in the compensation round following the third, thanks to not signing 2008 third-rounder Chase Davidson, Meyer was a versatile high schooler who played the infield, caught and pitched. The Astros are developing him as a third baseman and he has the chance to be a good one. He started switch-hitting not long ago and while he's behind from the left side, it looks like it might work. He played 62 games for Rookie League Greeneville alongside Mier and hit .190/.301/.299 with 69 strikeouts in 221 at-bats.

On B.J. Hyatt:
The Astros love the pre-Draft workout and Hyatt is one who likely got taken and signed because of how he looked in his workout with the team. He's strong-armed and projectable and his stats with Greeneville as a junior-college product might point to his future role: 1.64 ERA, 11 strikeouts in 11 innings as a reliever; 8.36 ERA in 8 1/3 innings, 18 hits allowed, nine walks and four strikeouts in three starts.

Sleeper Picks:
Dallas Keuchel, J.D. Martinez, Grant Hogue, and Mike Schurz

Projected Fast-Riser:
The Astros used Boston College senior sign James Macdonald (18th round) as a reliever with Tri-City and he pitched well in that role. Should he stay there, he could get there sooner than most.