How long has it been since the Astros have had a player capable of inspiring the kind of bovine adulation that our cow friend in the cartoon is getting? Will having the first choice in the upcoming draft really become the medium that brings the best player prospect in the world? Or will it simply be the opportunity to pick the most signable player that the team can afford who also comes the Astros way without a pain-in-the-rear agent who just can’t wait to turn all success in Houston for a few years into a bidding war down the road? – Well, maybe all agents are that way to a a lesser or greater extent, but they aren’t all named Scott Boras.
The first part of the question, the name of the player, we’ll soon enough learn when the draft takes place. And I feel confident that Jeff Luhnow and Company are about to cover this ground from every data and variable angle level available before they make that precious choice. More and more, this guys impresses as an analyst that leaves no stone unturned on goals, ways, and means – and especially when it comes to building a talent base.
Jeff Luhnow is not a guy who is out there, simply looking to get lucky when it comes to player acquisition. He’s out to make the best choice he has among all options from a system aiming to becoming more reliable and more replicable as time goes by. This is the mindset that now dominates the rebuilding process of the Houston Astros.
SABR friend Mark Wernick wrote some of us the following note this Memorial Day weekend. I’d like to reprint it here as a broader invitation to all of you to express your own thoughts here on your own favorite needs, players, and warnings for the Astros in the coming draft. Just write your heart out in the comment section, if you so desire. It’s not every year that the Astros have the number one pick period – and a chance to turn or burn the road to future success.
First, read Mark Wernick’s remarks and check out the talent rankings on available top players through the link he has provided:. – Bill McCurdy
Take her from here, Mark Wernick. – What should the Astros do?
So there’s one perk that comes out of our 106 loss debacle last year. And now the big moment is at hand: what will we do with our # 1 pick? I’ll give us this much, we have top-notch fielding. I like what I’ve seen of our defense.
We need pitching. Our pitching is so thin. Seasoned Stanford pitcher Mark Appel is a highly touted choice.
We need hitting. Our hitting is woeful, as the just-completed series with the Dodgers makes so clear. We were very competitive with the Dodgers, surprisingly so, considering they have great pitching, and great hitting (sans Kemp this series.) The folks at My MLB Draft.com have us picking Byron Buxton with our # 1 pick in their mock draft.
He’s fresh out of high school and apparently declaring for the draft. For those curious about him, here’s an article that seems to imply we’re likely to be regarded as the Village Idiots of MLB if we don’t select him.
Do we risk a Mark Newfield or a Brian Taylor or another early-career Phil Nevin if we choose him? I do really like the way his character is described, and character is 80% of the hurdle. He’s raw, unproven, plays against questionable competition in rural Georgia, and is likely two or three, maybe even four or five years away. Not sure I’ll live that long. But he threw a football 82 yards. (Yes, he was his team’s quarterback.) He’s also his school’s best pitcher and clocks 99 on the gun.
I’d like to see us take this guy, if not for me, then for the next generation. If he has a Stan Musial-type career, and I can stay alive for all of it, I’ll be a bit shy of 90 when he retires.
I’ll go with a smile on my face if he ties on the whole 2.5 decades with the Astros, and certainly so if he helps us to a few World Series titles along the way. I see him as the type of player around which a team could be built. Tough to build a team around a pitcher, and we have some building to do.
I invite follow-up discussion about this. Who should we take with our # 1 pick?
Mark Wernick, Larry Dierker Chapter, SABR
Tags: 2012 MLB player draft