Here is a roundup of the Astros draft picks today and links to video of them when available:
(Name, Position, School, Height, Weight, Age)
4) B.J. Hyatt (RHP, South Carolina Sumter, 6-4, 205, 20) Notes: Here are his numbers from last season in college -32 1/3 innings, 7.24 ERA, 3-0 record with 3 saves, .273 BAA, 1.61 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 5.28 BB/9. This is at a junior college, so I'm not sure what to make of those stats, but the Astros must project his arm to be something special, because his control is nowhere near ready for pro ball. He'll get rocked if he walks five a game at the next level, and I'm not sure if the Astros project him as a reliever or a starter. With his strikeout totals, he might be an effective late inning reliever, if he can avoid giving out free passes.
5) Brandon Wikoff (SS, Illinois-Champagne, 5-9, 170, 21) Notes: I really liked what I saw of Wikoff on the videos. As incredulous as I was with their fourth round selection, this one makes sense. Wikoff doesn't look like he has much power, but he's got a short, quick swing from the left side and has good speed around the bases. In the video, he's clocked going home to first in 3.90 seconds, which is plenty playable at the next level. His hands also looked good in the warmups that were filmed, making quick relays and solid throws. He didn't look as smooth in the field as Mier, but he'll be a solid prospect in a system lacking middle infielders.
6) Enrique Hernandez (SS, American Military Academy HS, 5-11, 170, 17) Notes: This is a kid who may mature to be more than he is now, but at the moment, he's a project. At short, his arm looked strained and his footwork needs work. At the plate, his swing is choppy but quick but in the at-bats we got to see, he looked like he needed to work on his plate discipline. Baseball America compared him to Luis Matos but with a better bat, and listed him as a second baseman. With his arm strength, that's probably where he'll end up in the long term.
7) Dallas Kouchel (LHP, Arkansas, 6-2, 180, 21) Notes: He is a guy who's a classic Moneyball pick. I don't mean his statistics were favorable, but that he was drafted on his performance rather than his measurables. At 6-foot-2 and 180, he doesn't have the prototypical frame, but he has anchored the Arkansas staff for three seasons and was an all-star in the Cape Cod League last summer. He doesn't throw hard, but with his great changeup, he can be an effective change of pace guy. The sink on his fastball will also lend itself to ground balls, which will help out a soft tossing lefty.
8) Brandt Walker (RHP, Stanford, 6-3, 185, 21) Notes: I'm betting the same scouts who were following Jason Castro last season got a look at Walker a year early. In 12 games, the righty had a 7.71 ERA and only had 27 appearances in his three years with the Cardinal. This is a case of statistics being misleading as Walker had more innings pitched (37 1/3) than hits allowed (36) but still had an ERA over 6. He also had 29 strikeouts in those 37 1/3 innings, meaning his arm is good and rested. We shall see.
9) Ben Orloff (SS, UC-Irvine, 5-11, 170, 22) Notes: Orloff's arm also appeared a little stretched in the short video of him taking grounders, but he should play somewhere in the infield. His swing is short, pulling his hands through quickly, so he shouldn't have trouble catching up to inside fastballs. He's also made 215 starts at shortstop, so he's got some experience at the position. He was second on the team in batting average and led the team in hits (91) and runs scored (62). Again, he just adds to the team's depth up the middle.
10) Erik Castro (3B, San Diego State, 6-4, 200, 21) Notes: Castro was named all-conference and started at four different positions last year. He was second on the team in home runs with 10 and was 55th in the nation in walks. I'm also not sure whether he is any relation to Astros 2008 first round pick Jason Castro. I'll check on that some more.
11) David Williams (C, Crowder College, 6-0, 190, 20) Notes: Apparently, he goes by Bubby. Easily the coolest name the Astros have drafted in the past two years (sorry, T.J. Steele). A draft eligible sophomore, Williams caught and played on the infield this season. I've got nothing more on him other than that.
12) Geoffrey Thomas (RHP, Stephenson, Ga. HS, 6-0, 187, 17) Notes: Has trouble controlling his arm slot. In the video, he threw in the high 80's consistently, but didn't have a ton of break on his curveball. Granted, they only showed him throw the curve once, so I don't want to make too many conclusions. His delivery also looks more violent than smooth, which means he may have a bigger chance for injury long term.
13) Jake Goebbert (OF, Northwestern, 6-0, 205, 21) Notes: Goebbert follows the Northwestern tradition of current Corpus first baseman Mark Ori. His season was cut short due to an injury, but he still managed to bat .280 with 10 doubles and four home runs in 30 games. He showed more power in his sophomore season and hopefully will bounce back from his injury (whatever that was).
14) David Berner (LHP, San Jose St., 6-2, 205, 21) Notes: Now here is a kid I really like. This press release by San Jose State is full of some good quotes from the coach and Berner. He's an older guy who can probably advance quickly. Pitching in the WAC, he also had to play at altitude some, so he's probably used to hitter-friendly environs, meaning he won't be phased by Lancaster's band box. He also led his conference in ERA, opposing batting average and strikeouts. The latter two tell me that the former was no fluke or product of excellent defense. I have high hopes for this one. Lefties that strike people out don't grow on trees.
15) Ryan Humphrey (CF, St. Louis CC Meramac, 6-0, 195, 21)
16) Ronald Sanchez (1B, Manuela Toro Morice HS, Caguas, Puerto Rico, 5-10, 17) Notes: Played catcher in high school and will switch to first base in the minors. He has a good clean swing and loads up well, which means he should show some power at the next level. He's also the third player the Astros have drafted out of Puerto Rico in the last two years.
17) Justin Harper (RHP, Oklahoma City University, 6-3, 210, 21) Notes: The first NAIA player drafted by the Astros this year, Harper didn't have the best ERA in the world but struck out 86 in 71 innings and only gave up 63 hits. His delivery almost drops down side arm at times, but his follow through is solid and his leg kick looks powerful. It's obvious that he's a power guy and he doesn't seem to land violently on his front leg, which can lead to shoulder problems.
18) J.B. MacDonald (RHP, Boston College, 6-2, 190, 22) Notes: After playing sparingly his first three years at BC, MacDonald started fifteen games this season, throwing 96 2/3 innings and allowing 96 hits. The senior also struck out 71 and walked 32 while giving up a team-high 13 home runs. He got to work with a top-notch defensive catcher, so the Astros must've seen something they liked about him. His track record isn't great, however, and he doesn't throw enough strikes for my tastes. Still, he's a guy who can grow.
19) Brian Kemp (CF, St. John's University, 5-9, 180, 21) Notes: In the few swings he took on video, it appeared that Kemp transfers a little too much weight onto his front foot, which will limit his power potential at the next level, but has a nice swing otherwise. He also has an absolute cannon for an arm in the outfield and, if he has the range to play center, should be a potent defensive weapon.
20) Julio Martinez (RF, Nova Southeastern University, 6-3, 194, 21) Notes: Now this kid shows some power potential. Unlike Kemp, Martinez loads up for the ball well and has a natural uppercut to his swing that will help his power. He was timed at 4.40 down to first on a bunt attempt, which is pretty good for a righty. We didn't get to see him field, but he should have an arm if they listed him in right field. I'm interested in why he lasted so long. Maybe teams don't trust the competition he played against.
21) Barry Butera (2B, Boston College, 6-0, 180, 22) Notes: Butera played three different positions for Boston College last season (RF, SS, 2B) but was listed as a pure second baseman by the Astros. He has definite speed, as he led the ACC in triples (4) and a knack for getting on base, with a .400 OBP and six multi-hit games in his last nine starts. Definitely more of an organizational guy than a legitimate prospect, but give him some time in the minors to develop.
22) Mark Jones (RHP, Manheim Township, Pa. HS, 6-7, 205, 18)
23) Robert Donovan (RHP, Stetson University, 6-5, 220, 21) Notes: Donovan is an effort thrower. His whole delivery screams 'I'm throwing as hard as I can.' That's not necessarily a bad thing, but you hope it doesn't lead to injury risk. The body tends not to like jarring activities. Other than that, his delivery is clean. The ball starts forward vertical to the ground, he throws almost completely over the top and he lands pretty balanced on his feet. He's got a tall and wiry frame, one of the biggest pitchers the Astros have drafted so far this year. He'll be an interesting guy to watch.
24) Mike Modica (LHP, George Mason, 6-0, 175, 22) Notes: The Oswalt-sized lefty has an impressive resume. He was named second team All-America and selected as the South Jersey Coaches Pitcher of the Year. He started more games than anyone in George Mason history and is second on the all-time strikeout, wins and innings pitched lists. All that is great and shows he can be productive. What I worry about is all those innings already on his arm. Will he stay healthy? Is he good enough to strike guys out at the next level? We'll have to see.
25) Nicholas Stanley (1B, Florida Southern, 6-2, 195, 22) Notes: Stanley may be a case of a guy who transfers off the radar of some scouts. He played at NC State last season before transferring to Florida Southern and starting all 57 games. He led the team with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs. It's tough to say how his power will translate in the pros, but he's the kind of guy the Astros have been collecting for the past few years: older first baseman with a little pop who can field well enough to play in the outfield.
26) Matthew Watson (1B, Pompano Beach, ME HS, 6-0, 200, 18)
27) Aaron Bray (3B, UNC Charlotte, 6-0, 180, 21) Notes: Another try-hard guy, Bray finished his career at Charlotte with over 200 hits and 200 runs scored. He is the team's all-time hits leader with 293 and is only the second player in school history to top 200 in each category. He doesn't have a lot of power with just 12 extra-base hits this season, but he did bat .339, so he'll at least be a consistent hitter. He only struck out 22 times in 189 innings, so he's got a pretty good batting eye. Still, this is an organizational player who may move up over time and surprise some people if he develops a little pop.
28) Eric Anderson (RHP, Mountain Vista, Colo. HS, 6-4, 18)
29) Garen Wright (CF, Putnam City, Okla. HS, 6-3, 230, 18)
30) Brandon Petite (RHP, Vauxhall HS, Edmonton, Canada, 6-3, 210, 18) Notes: Petite is a big righthander from Canada who throws from a high three-quarters slot. Right now, he's still more projectability than performance, as he's still pitching in the high 80's but should gain speed as he matures. His mechanics need work, as he falls off to the first base side pretty badly and doesn't get into a good fielding position. I'm not sure if he's committed anywhere or how easy it will be to sign him, but he's a guy that projects favorably in the future.