The draft is a great way to ensure that the farm system stays stocked. After years of ownership giving up draft picks to sign over-priced veterans, the Luhnow Regime has completely changed the culture by relying on young talent to form the core of an exciting major league team. This update includes touching briefly on each prospect selected by the Astros in the top 10 rounds of June’s MLB Draft.
*Houston received two compensatory selections from St. Louis as part of the hacking scandal.
1. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, 1st Round #15
Age: 20 (DOB: 10/11/1996)
Bukauskas was the ace of the UNC Tar Heels staff. He threw 93 innings and went 9-1 with a 2.53 ERA with an 11.2 K/9 rate. Will start his pro career in the GCL, but the Astros will monitor his workload closely. Has the potential and ability to work out of the bullpen this October, however the Astros envision him as a starter long-term.
2. Joe Perez, 3B, 2nd Round #53
Age: 17 (DOB: 8/12/1999)
A true two-way talent out of a Florida HS, Perez will be playing 3B as a professional despite his ability to sit in the mid-90s and top out at 99. Underwent Tommy John surgery in June. Decided to forgo attending the University of Miami.
*3. Corbin Martin, RHP, 2nd Round #56
Age: 21 (DOB: 12/281995)
The Astros took the local kid with this selection (Cypress Ranch HS/Texas A&M). Pitched in both the rotation and the bullpen in 2017. Martin threw 74 innings with a 3.03 ERA and 78/34 KK/BB. Sits in the upper 90s as a reliever and consistently hit 91-95 as a starter. If Houston sees him as a bullpen piece, he could be fast traced to join the big club in 2018.
*4. J.J. Matijevic, 2B, CBB #75
Age: 21 (DOB: 11/14/1995)
A college first baseman that has moved to second after being drafted, led the Arizona Wildcats in several hitting categories while compiling a line of .383/.436/.633 with 92 hits, 10 homers, 30 doubles, and 65 RBI while stealing 9 bases. Has played well in 22 games for Tri City (NY-Penn League) but needs to cut down on strikeouts (24.7 K%). Has good raw power that will only increase as he ages and matures to professional baseball, likely turning many of those doubles into home runs.
5. Tyler Ivey, RHP, 3rd Round #91
Age: 21 (DOB: 5/12/1996)
Transferred to the JUCO ranks from Texas A&M and went 9-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 games for the Grayson College Vikings. Has not thrown well thus far into his professional career as he has pitched to a 10.97 in 5 games (4 starts) across 10.2 innings with a .367 BAA. Might profile better as a reliever with only fastball that averages 92 and a decent curve.
6. Peter Solomon, RHP, 4th Round #121
Age: 20 (DOB: 8/16/1996)
Loads of potential if he can harness his explosiveness. Threw 54 innings at Notre Dame in 21 games (four starts) and landed with a 3-4 record with a 3.83 ERA. Solomon struck out 61 and walked 28 in 54 innings. Has yet to make his professional debut.
7. Nathan Perry, C 5th Round #151
Age: 18 (DOB: 7/7/1999)
The Astros have made a habit of drafting catchers under Jeff Luhnow, taking four in each of the last five drafts. Perry was the first in 2017 drafted out of Bassett HS in Virginia. Is a left-handed hitter the might be better suited for 1B.. Started his career in the Gulf Coast League and has gone for .074/.107/.074 with only two singles and seven strikeouts in 27 at-bats.
8. Jake Adams, 1B 6th Round #181
Age: 21 (DOB: 12/23/1995)
Led the NCAA in home runs in 2017 with 29 while driving in 72. Was a Baseball America 3rd team All-American hitting .335/.417/.747. Hit 425 foot HR in first pro at-bat (Tri City, NY-Penn League), but appears to be having a hard time adjusting to pro ball as he has gone for .181/.261/.398 after 83 professional at-bats.
9. Parker Mushinski, LHP 7th Round #211
Age: 21 (DOB: 11/22/1995)
Saved six games at Texas Tech in 2017 while striking out 47 in 37.2 innings. Has made a nice transition to the professional ranks with 18 strikeouts in 10.2 innings across five games (one start) for Tri City. Has fastball that sits 91-92 and touches 94. Also has an above-average curve but control has been an issue. Projects as a stereotypical LOOGY.
10. Corey Julks, OF 8th Round #241
Age: 21 (DOB: 2/27/1996)
After earning first team all-conference nods in back-to-back seasons at the University of Houston, Julks is an OF that excels in several phases of the game, but doesn’t have any singularly explosive tool. Hit .335/.426/572 over the course of the 2017 season 27 XBH and stealing 35 bases.
11. Michael Papierski, C 9th Round #271
Age: 21 (DOB: 2/26/1996)
The second catcher of the 2017 draft, Papierski is another player that could be defined as a jack-of-all trades. His trademark at LSU was his defense, throwing out 54% of would be base stealers. Also shows good framing skills. Offensively, knows how to get on base (.389 career OBP in college, .393 OBP for Tri City). Would really need to develop a stronger bat to have much fantasy relevance, but has the potential to advance through the system based on his defense.
12. Kyle Serrano, RHP 10th Round #301
Age: 22 (DOB: 7/6/1995)
Surprising selection as Serrano has been marred by inconsistency throughout his career at Tennessee. Missed significant time due to injury and only threw 9.2 innings during the 2017 season. If he is able to put it all together, has the upside of a mid-rotation starter with a plus breaking ball as part of a nice three-pitch mix.
Article featured image of J.B. Bukauskas – courtesy his Twitter page and Houston Astros