With the first pick of the 7th Round of the 2014 MLB Draft (196th overall) the Astros select RHP Derick Velazquez out of Fresno State.
Velazquez is a 6'4" 200lb junior who was previously drafted by Baltimore in the 15th round of the 2012 draft, after he spent his freshman year at Merced College. MLB.com had him ranked as the #144 draft prospect in their Top 200, while Baseball America ranked him #308 in their Top 500. As a junior, he went 3-5 with a 4.79 ERA in 28 games (4 starts), featuring 38:10 K:BB in 56.1 IP. He was named to the Mountain West Academic All-Conference team in 2013.
Introduced to baseball by his babysitter at age 4, he also played basketball as a kid, but quit the sport because he enjoyed the diamond more. His pitching repertoire features both two-seam and four-seam fastballs, a changeup, and both hard and soft curves.
Velazquez spent most of the year pitching out of the bullpen, but he worked his way into the weekend rotation. He's been up to 94 mph with his fastball with a ton of life, and he complements it with a breaking ball that's an out pitch when he's throwing well. He has some feel for a changeup, though he hasn't thrown it as much. Tall and thin, Velazquez has room to add good weight and strength, leaving some scouts to think there's projection in what he can become.