HOUSTON -- The Astros have had their share of Rule 5 Draft successes in the past 50 years, a list that incudes left-handed pitcher Wesley Wright, center fielder Willy Taveras and right-handed pitcher Xavier Hernandez. Those were the outliers.
Most of the players the club has taken in the Rule 5 Draft over the years didn’t reach the Majors or didn’t have much of an impact when they did, which isn’t an unusual outcome for the Rule 5 Draft. Players taken in the Major League phase must remain on that club’s active roster for the entire next season or be offered back to the former club.
The Astros, with a stacked roster in recent years, haven’t take a player in the Rule 5 Draft since selecting Rangers pitcher Anthony Gose in 2017, though he never made it through Spring Training. The last Rule 5 Draft pick to stick with Houston was pitcher Josh Fields, taken in '12.
While the format and eligibility rules have changed at times, here are all the players selected in the Rule 5 Draft in the past 50 years of Astros history:
2017: Rangers LHP Anthony Gose
The former Tigers outfielder was drafted as a pitcher and was cut during Spring Training, despite his 100 mph fastball.
2014: Red Sox RHP Jason García
García was immediately traded to the Orioles for cash, making 21 appearances for Baltimore that year in his only Major League action.
2013: D-backs LHP Patrick Schuster
Taken with the No. 1 overall pick, Schuster was traded to the Padres for right-hander Anthony Bass, who appeared in 21 games for Houston in 2014. Schuster appeared in 11 big league games with the A’s and Phillies in '16.
2012: Red Sox RHP Josh Fields
The hard-throwing Fields posted a 4.53 ERA with a 9-10 record and nine saves in four seasons with Houston, but he is probably best remembered by Astros fans for giving up back-to-back homers to Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa in the 10th inning of Game 2 of the 2017 World Series when he was with the Dodgers ... as well as being traded for the '19 Rookie of the Year Award winner Yordan Alvarez.
2012 Padres 1B Nate Freiman
The 6-foot-7 first baseman didn’t make the team in Spring Training and was put on waivers in order to be returned to the Padres. He was later claimed by the A’s. Freiman hit .256 with nine homers in 116 games for the A’s from 2013-14.
2011: Mets RHP Rhiner Cruz
The hard-throwing reliever appeared in 72 games for the Astros in 2012-13, posting a 5.31 ERA, and he notably didn’t pitch in the big leagues again until appearing in a pair of games for the Blue Jays in '18.
2010: Rays RHP Aneury Rodriguez
Rodriguez posted a 5.27 ERA in 43 games with the Astros in 2011 and threw in one game in '12, which marked his last MLB outing.
2009: Red Sox 3B Jorge Jimenez
The Astros traded Jimenez to the Marlins shortly after he was drafted in a deal that Houston made to acquire pitcher Matt Lindstrom. Jimenez never reached the big leagues.
2008: Royals LHP Gilbert De La Vara
The lefty spent 2009 Spring Training in Astros camp before being sent back to the Royals in April of that season. De La Vara reached as high as Triple-A in his career.
2007: Dodgers LHP Wesley Wright
One of the most successful Rule 5 Draft picks in Astros history, Wright entered the 2021 season as third all-time on the Astros’ list for most appearances (286) by a left-handed pitcher, trailing Billy Wagner (464) and Joe Sambito (353).
2006: Cubs RHP Lincoln Holdzkom
Holdzkom didn’t make the club in Spring Training in 2007 and he was returned to the Cubs. He reached Triple-A with the Red Sox in '07-08, and was killed in a car crash in California in '15.
2003: Indians OF Willy Taveras
Another successful pick by the Astros, Taveras finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2005 and started 152 games on a World Series club that year. Taveras stole 67 bases in two seasons with Houston and he holds the club record with a 30-game hitting streak in '06.
1998: Tigers OF Glen Barker
Barker appeared in 235 career big league games, all with the Astros (1999-01) and hit .232/.330/.323 with 30 stolen bases.
1996: Brewers RHP Ramon Garcia
After appearing in 16 games with the White Sox as a 22-year-old in 1991, Garcia pitched in 37 games with the Brewers in ’96 before being selected by the Astros, who saw him go 9-8 with a 3.69 ERA in 42 games (20 starts) en route to a NL Central division title in '97.
1994: Padres LHP Nate Cromwell
The lefty didn’t make it with the Astros and was sent back to the Padres, with whom he reached Triple-A for the second time in 1995.
1991: Giants 3B Juan Guerrero
Guerrero's only Major League action came in 79 games with the Astros in 1992, when he hit .200, including a game-winning homer in a 12-inning victory over the Pirates.
1990: Cubs RHP Dean Wilkins
After appearing in 18 games with the Cubs in 1989 and '90, Wilkins threw in seven games for the Astros in '91, going 2-1 with an 11.25 ERA.
1989: Blue Jays RHP Xavier Hernandez
Known as the “X-Man,” Hernandez made his debut with the Blue Jays in 1989 and spent the next four seasons with Houston, where he went 17-14 with 19 saves and a 3.22 ERA in 215 games. He returned to Houston for the ’96 season and was 5-5 with six saves.
1989 Dodgers RHP Bill Brennan
Brennan spent the entire 1990 season at Triple-A Tucson in the Astros organization, but he saw Major League time with the Dodgers ('88) and Cubs ('93), appearing in 12 Major League games.
1988: Brewers LHP Dave Stapleton
The Astros drafted Stapleton after he had appeared in 10 games for the Brewers, but he never stuck in Houston and was sent back to Milwaukee for the 1989 season.
1987: Pirates RHP Scott Medvin
Medvin didn’t remain with the Astros and was sent back to the Pirates for the 1988 season, with whom he appeared in 17 Major League games that year.
1986: Dodgers LHP Jeff Edwards
Edwards split the 1987 season between Triple-A Tucson and Double-A Columbus in the Astros system and Triple-A Albuquerque in the Dodgers system, but he never reached the big leagues.
1975: Angels RHP Gil Rondon
The Bronx-born right-hander went 2-2 with a 5.70 ERA in 19 games for the 1976 Astros and later saw big league time with the White Sox ('79).
1973: Cardinals IF Larry Milbourne
The light-hitting, versatile infielder spent 11 years in the Major Leagues, including three with the Astros (1974-76) with whom he hit .245/.297/.282 in 244 games. Of his 623 career hits, 517 were singles.
1972: Red Sox OF Bob Gallagher
A native of Massachusetts, Gallagher made his debut with the Red Sox in 1972 before being drafted by the Astros and appearing in 173 games in two seasons ('73-74), with a career line of .220/.266/.275 with two homers.
1971: Giants IF Bob Fenwick
The Japanese born Fenwick appeared in only 36 games for the 1972 Astros, hitting .180, before being traded to the Cardinals following the season.