Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Astros use 2nd round pick on pitcher

With the 69th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 draft, the Astros selected high school right-handed pitcher Tanner Bushue. The 17-year old is from South Central High School in Farina, Illinois. He signed with John A. Logan Community College, which shows that he can be signed fairly easily. Most people had him pegged as going in the first 10 rounds, but not higher than the fourth round, so expect him to be characterized as a bit of a reach. However, the MLB Network's draft expert Jonathan Mayo said he liked what the Astros were doing in not reaching for college guys who are close to the majors and instead taking upside guys like Bushue.

According to the Baseball America scouting report, Bushue is a 6-foot-4, 180 pound athlete who averaged over 18 points a game as a basketball player in high school. His video on MLB.com shows him touching 90 with his fastball, but it sitting in the high 80's right now. His 12-6 curveball also had a ton of downward break, which makes it a tough pitch to hit. The MLB Network guys suggested that he can have a plus fastball and curveball, which gives him a good shot at making the big leagues in some capacity.

His weaknesses right now are that he doesn't really have a lot of time on the mound to develop a baseball feel. This means his third and fourth pitches are weak right now, something he'll have to work on in the minors to stay a starter in the higher levels of the farm system. Currently, he throws a slider and a changeup but neither are good pitches at this point.

One trend that is starting to show about Astros scouting director Bobby Heck's drafts is that he likes athletic pitchers. That's how most of the scouting reports described Jordan Lyles, Ross Seaton and Brad Dydalewicz last season and what they say about Bushue now. It's also worth noting that Bushue's pitching mechanics appear to be very solid. In that (very) short video, his motion appeared pretty easy and his arm flies open vertical from the ground, meaning he doesn't have to torque his shoulder much in his delivery. That's one of the problems that Mark Prior had in his delivery, and while it's not a sure sign of injury, it's good to know this kid has solid mechanics early on.

If the Astros hold to form, they'll send Bushue to Rookie ball to throw about 50 innings this season before starting next year in Lexington. Bushue will no doubt benefit from having Mier behind him defensively and the two could move up through the system together.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post again David! It's Henry from the Crawfish Boxes. I saw that many at TCB listed Bushue as one our top prospects so I googled him and came to this page. He obviously is another pitcher with projectability who is steadily improving in the minors for the Astros.