Astros move Draft room to West Palm Beach
Club's Spring Training facility will be new base of operations
ANAHEIM -- The Astros will conduct their operations for next month's MLB Draft from the Major League clubhouse at the team's Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., general manager Jeff Luhnow said Monday. The Astros will fly in their scouts to Florida instead of Houston to join Luhnow and his top baseball operations staff for the June 4-6 event.
Since moving to Minute Maid Park in 2000, the Astros have conducted the Draft from a conference room at Union Station, but recent restructuring to those offices has seen that room get split up into several smaller rooms.
"We also just figured it's a good environment where everybody gets away, we're all together, we can focus on the Draft and Eastern time zone and everything. ... There's a lot of pluses to it," Luhnow said. "We bring in all the scouts in anyway [to Houston in years past], and this is a central location. We have the added benefit that we have a lot of our coaches who are based there, and they'll be able to come in and observe and listen to the conversations and see the players we draft and all that."
Luhnow said the Astros are trying to build up their complex in Florida as their baseball operations hub outside of Houston. The Astros and Nationals combined to build a new Spring Training stadium, Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, which opened last year, and the Astros had several players work out at the state-of-the-art facility beginning in January this year. They have several staff members living there full-time.
"It's such a nice facility, and so functional, it kind of makes sense for us to use it for more things," Luhnow "We're going to try do it for the Draft this year."
The Astros' Major League clubhouse in West Palm Beach is expansive with several big-screen televisions, comfortable chairs and is totally wired, making it an ideal spot to keep tabs on the Draft. The Astros will pick No. 28 overall and will have the third-from-last pick in each round.
The Astros are already having some Draft meetings. The Midwest scouts were in Houston on Monday talking players they have scouted, and the team will hold four workouts with amateur players prior to the Draft -- May 27 in L.A., May 28 in Houston, May 29 in Atlanta and June 1 in West Palm Beach.
Cole's SoCal homecoming
Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole -- who was born in Newport Beach, Calif., raised in Orange County and attended UCLA -- will make only his second career start at Angel Stadium on Tuesday. Cole's only other start in Anaheim came in his third big league start, on June 21, 2013, while he was with the Pirates.
"It's nice to be home," Cole said. "It's obviously a big series. They came into our place and pushed us around a little bit, so I think we're looking to play well here, and obviously coming home and being in front of family will be nice."
Cole expects to have "quite a bit" of friends and family members in attendance Tuesday. His parents had two sets of seasons tickets to Angels games while he was growing up -- one on the first row behind the Angels' dugout and one in the upper deck on the first-base side in the first row.
"We'd come here once a week whenever they were at home," he said. "I pitched here as an amateur a couple of times in some scout-ball leagues. It's always a dream to get to the big leagues, and obviously being the place I grew up watching baseball in person, it's nice to come back here and play as a professional."