HOUSTON -- The Astros, like all teams, have had their share of hits and misses in the MLB Draft. Among the picks they nailed were Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Billy Wagner and J.R. Richard, but taking Mark Appel with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013, as well as selecting high school shortstop Jio Mier before Mike Trout in 2009, were picks that set them back.
Here’s a look at the club's first pick in each Draft since 1965 -- the team’s first year as the Astros (the franchise was known as the Colt .45s in its first three seasons). The list focuses on only the team’s first pick from the Rule 4 Draft.
2022: Drew Gilbert, OF, University of Tennessee (No. 28)
Gilbert’s competitiveness, defense and his bat were the factors that prompted the Astros to select him in the first round. He hit .362 with 21 doubles, four triples, 11 homers and 70 RBIs in 58 games at Tennessee in 2022, with more walks (33) than strikeouts (32). Gilbert was SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player, earned a spot on the SEC All-Defensive team, as well as NCBWA first-team All-American honors. He batted cleanup for the Volunteers, who were the No. 1 team in the nation for much of this season.
2021: Tyler Whitaker, OF, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman HS (No. 87)
The Astros went with a high school senior from Las Vegas with their first pick, which came in the third round due to MLB's punishment in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal. Initially a shortstop, the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Whitaker moved to third base and then to the outfield corners by the end of his senior season. Whitaker also attended the same high school as Rangers slugger Joey Gallo.
2020: Alex Santos II, RHP, Bronx (N.Y.) Mount Saint Michael Academy (No. 72)
The Astros, who lost their first- and second-round picks as part of the punishment handed down by MLB in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal, took the 18-year-old right-hander from New York with their first pick. He was taken 72nd overall with the pick the Astros were awarded after Gerrit Cole signed with the Yankees.
2019: Korey Lee, C, University of California, Berkeley (No. 32)
Wooed by his power and his arm, Lee was well-known to the Astros. He was the bat boy on the University of California San Diego team that Korey’s brother, Kellen, played on. Ryan Leake, who was a coach on that UCSD team, was the Astros' scout in San Diego, where Lee is from.
2018: Seth Beer, OF, Clemson (No. 28)
A polished left-handed hitter who became the first freshman to win the Dick Howser Trophy (presented to the collegiate national player of the year) in 2016, Beer was traded to the D-backs in 2019 in the Zack Greinke deal.
2017: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, North Carolina (No. 15)
The hard-throwing right-hander was traded to the D-backs in 2019 as part of a deal that sent ace Zack Greinke to Houston. Bukauskas made his Major League debut in 2021.
2016: Forrest Whitley, RHP, San Antonio (Texas) Alamo Heights (No. 17)
The tall fireballer from San Antonio has battled numerous injuries, a suspension and inconsistency in the Minor Leagues and underwent Tommy John surgery early in 2021.
2015: Alex Bregman, SS, LSU (No. 2)
A compensation pick for not signing No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken a year earlier, Bregman quickly turned into a cornerstone player for the Astros, helping them to the World Series in 2017 and finishing a close second in MVP voting in 2019.
2014: Brady Aiken, LHP, San Diego (Calif.) Cathedral Catholic HS (No. 1)
The Astros failed to sign Aiken after he failed a physical and a contract dispute ensued. The Indians took him No. 17 overall a year later after he had Tommy John surgery.
2013: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford (No. 1)
Dubbed as one of the most polished pitchers in Draft history, Appel struggled as a Minor Leaguer and was eventually traded to the Phillies in 2015. He’s considered one of the biggest busts of all time.
2012: Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (No. 1)
Drafted as a 17-year-old, Correa rose quickly through the Minor Leagues and made his debut three years later. He was named AL Rookie of the Year in 2015 and became one of the most clutch players in postseason history for an Astros team that won the 2017 World Series.
2011: George Springer, OF, University of Connecticut (No. 11)
Springer became a star player in Houston and was name the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 World Series. Along the way, the high-flying outfielder made three All-Star teams, won two Silver Slugger Awards and made countless breathtaking catches in the outfield. Springer ranks fifth all-time in franchise history in home runs with 174, sixth in OPS at .852 and is tied for fifth in adjusted OPS+ at 132.
2010: Delino DeShields Jr, CF, College Park (Ga.) Woodward Academy (No. 8)
The son of former Major Leaguer Delino DeShields never reached the bigs with the Astros before the Rangers took him in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft. He played in 539 games over the next five years for Texas.
2009: Jio Mier, SS, La Verne (Calif.) Bonita (No. 21)
Taken four picks before Mike Trout was nabbed by the Angels, Mier never reached the big leagues.
2008: Jason Castro, C, Stanford (No. 10)
Castro has played more than a decade in the big leagues and was named to the All-Star team with Houston in 2013.
2007: Derek Dietrich, 3B, Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius (No. 111)
After losing their first two picks for signing free agents Carlos Lee and Woody Williams, the Astros drafted Dietrich in the third round but were unable to sign him. He then attended Georgia Tech and was taken in the second round of the 2010 Draft by Tampa Bay.
2006: Maxwell Sapp, C, Orlando (Fla.) Bishop Moore (No. 23)
Sapp put up modest numbers in the Minor Leagues and saw his career derailed when he was hospitalized with a severe case of viral meningitis in 2008. His played in 210 Minor League games.
2005: Brian Bogusevic, OF, Tulane (No. 24)
A two-way star at Tulane, the Astros drafted Bogusevic as a hitter. He played five years in the big leagues, appearing in 252 games for the Astros from 2010-12.
2004: Hunter Pence, OF, University of Texas-Arlington (No. 64)
Taken in the second round, Pence produced a 14-year career that included four All-Star Game appearances and a pair of World Series titles with the Giants. He hit .290 with 103 homers and 377 RBIs in five years with Houston before being traded to the Phillies.
2003: Jason Hirsh, RHP, (Calif.) Cal Lutheran (No. 59)
The 6-foot-8 right-hander went 3-4 with a 6.04 ERA in nine games for the Astros in 2006.
2002: Derick Grigsby, RHP, Northeast Texas CC (No. 29)
The right-hander had a 5.44 ERA in 54 career Minor League games for the Astros while battling with control issues and bouts of depression.
2001: Chris Burke, IF, Tennessee (No. 10)
The heir apparent to Hall of Famer Craig Biggio at second base, Burke wound up playing more outfield for the Astros and is best known for hitting a walk-off homer to clinch the 2005 NLCS over the Braves.
2000: Robert Stiehl, RHP, El Camino College (No. 27)
Selected two picks before Adam Wainwright, Stiehl played seven seasons in the Minor Leagues and topped out at Double-A in 2007.
1999: Mike Rosamond, OF, Ole Miss (No. 42)
Rosamond never reached the Major Leagues, appearing in 872 career games in the Minors with several organizations.
1998: Brad Lidge, RHP, Notre Dame (No. 17)
Lidge pitched six of his 11 big league seasons with the Astros, saving 123 games from 2002-07, including 42 for Houston's first pennant-winning team in '05. He was traded to the Phillies and went 41-for-41 in save chances in '08 and recorded the final out of Philadelphia’s World Series championship.
1997: Lance Berkman, 1B, Rice (No. 16)
One of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball over his 15-year Major League career, Berkman was a five-time All-Star in 12 seasons with Houston. He’s the Astros’ all-time leader in on-base percentage (.410) and second in slugging percentage (.549) and OPS (.959).
1996: Mark Johnson, RHP, Hawaii (No. 19)
Johnson was in the Astros organization for less than a year before he was dealt to the Marlins in 1997 in the deal that brought Moises Alou to Houston.
1995: Tony McKnight, RHP, Arkansas HS (No. 22)
McKnight played in 21 big league games, including six for the Astros in 2000 and three in ’01, posting a 3.91 ERA. He threw a complete game on Sept. 27, 2000, at Pittsburgh.
1994: Ramon Castro, C, Puerto Rico (No. 17)
Traded to the Marlins in July 1998 in a deal in which veteran reliever Jay Powell went to Houston, Castro played 13 years in the Major Leagues.
1993: Billy Wagner, LHP, Ferrum College (No. 12)
A seven-time All-Star and one of the most dominating closers in Major League history, Wagner spent the first nine years of his 16-year career with Houston, posting 225 saves and 694 strikeouts in 464 games. He set an Astros single-season franchise record for saves in 1999 (39), before topping it in 2003 (44).
1992: Phil Nevin, 3B, Cal State Fullerton (No. 1)
While former Astros scout Hal Newhouser lobbied for Derek Jeter -- and later quit when they didn’t take him -- the Astros selected polished college hitter Phil Nevin with the top pick. He reached the big leagues with Houston in 1995 and played in only 18 games before he was traded to the Tigers. He hit 208 homers and posted an .814 OPS in 12 Major League seasons.
1991: John Burke, RHP, Florida (No. 6)
Burke never signed with the Astros and wound up getting drafted 27th overall the next year by the Rockies. He pitched parts of two seasons for the Rockies, posting a 6.75 ERA from 1996-97.
1990: Tom Nevers, SS, Edina (Minn.) High (No. 21)
Nevers name was apropos considering he never made the big leagues. He played in 1,330 Minor League games with six organization, topping out at Triple-A.
1989: Jeff Juden, RHP, Salem (Mass.) High (No. 12)
The 6-foot-7 righty played in only six games for the Astros, who traded him to the Phillies prior to the 1994 season. He played eight years in the big leagues for eight teams, going 27-32 with a 4.81 ERA.
1988: Willie Ansley, OF, Plainview (Texas) HS (No. 7)
A highly recruited defensive back who signed to play football at the University of Oklahoma, Ansley reached Triple-A and played in 515 games in the Minor Leagues.
1987: Craig Biggio, C, Seton Hall (No. 22)
The first to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the Astros, Craig Biggio played all 20 of his Major League seasons with Houston. He’s the Astros’ all-time leader in games played (2,850), hits (3,060), runs (1,844), doubles (668) and extra-base hits (1,014) and ranks second in RBIs, (1,175), steals (414) and walks (1,160) and third in home runs (291). Biggio was named to seven All-Star teams, won five Silver Slugger Awards and four Gold Gloves.
1986: Ryan Bowen, RHP, Hanford (Calif.) High (No. 13)
Bowen appeared in 25 games for the Astros from 1991-92 before being taken by the Marlins in the expansion draft.
1985: Cameron Drew, OF, New Haven (No. 12)
Drew drove in 302 runs in 429 Minor League games with the Astros. He was 3-for-16 in his brief time in the big leagues in 1988.
1984: Don August, RHP, Chapman (No. 17)
August was traded to the Brewers in 1986 in the deal that brought pitcher Danny Darwin to Houston. He went 34-30 with a 4.64 ERA and nine complete games in four seasons with the Brewers.
1983: Robbie Wine, C, Oklahoma State (No. 8)
The son of former Gold Glove shortstop Bobby Wine, Robbie hit .146 in 23 games with the Astros from 1986-87.
1982: Steve Swain, OF, El Cajon (Calif.) Grossmont (No. 15)
Swain hit .210 with four homers in 143 career Minor League games, never advancing past Class A.
1981: Curtis Burke, OF, Tennessee State (No. 75)
Burke hit .260 with 47 career homers in 520 Minor League games in the Astros’ system.
1980: Jeff Calhoun, LHP, Ole Miss (No. 69)
The lefty reliever threw 105 2/3 innings for the Astros from 1984-87 before being traded to the Phillies.
1979: John Mizerock, C, Punxsutawney (Pa.) High (No. 8)
The left-handed-hitting backstop hit .181 in 92 games for the Astros in 1983 and '85-86 before finishing his career with the Braves in '89.
1978: Rod Boxberger, RHP, University of Southern California (No. 11)
Boxberger pitched in the Houston system from 1978-80 and finished his career in 1983 with 134 career Minor League games.
1977: Ricky Adams, SS, Montclair (Calif.) HS (No. 14)
The Astros released Adams in 1980, but he reached the big leagues with the Angels (1982-83) and Giants (‘85).
1976: Floyd Bannister, LHP, Arizona State (No. 1)
After pitching just seven games in the Minors, Bannister opened the 1977 season with the Astros and appeared in 24 games, posting an 8-9 record and a 4.04 ERA. He spent one more season with the Astros before being traded to the Mariners in the deal that brought Craig Reynolds to Houston. Bannister was selected to the 1982 All-Star Game and led the American League with 209 strikeouts, his career best. Over his 15-year MLB career, Bannister compiled a 134-143 record with a 4.06 ERA in 431 games (363 starts) for the Astros, Mariners, White Sox, Royals, Angels and Rangers.
1975: Bo McLaughlin, RHP, Lipscomb (No. 14)
McLaughlin pitched six years in the big leagues, going 9-15 with a 3.90 ERA in 87 games (18 starts) for the Astros. He’s best known for being struck in the head by a line drive by Harold Baines while with the A’s in 1981, an injury that required two surgeries to wire his cheekbone and left eye socket. He recovered and returned to the field in 1982.
1974: Kevin Drake, OF, Lompac (Calif.) Cabrillo HS (No. 15)
The Japanese-born Drake appeared in 356 games in four seasons in Houston's Minor League system.
1973: Calvin Portley, SS, Longview (Texas) HS (No. 20)
Portley played four years in the Astros’ system and two in the Tigers' system, hitting one home run in 500 games.
1972: Steve Englishbey, OF, South Houston (Texas) HS (No. 9)
A Houston-area product, Englishbey hit .225 with 58 homers in 534 Minor League games with the Astros.
1971: Neil Rasmussen, SS, Arcadia (Calif.) High (No. 12)
Rasmussen played in 871 games in the Minors, spending his first three seasons with the Astros and topping out at Class A.
1970: Randy Scarbery, RHP, Fresno (Calif.) Roosevelt HS (No. 7)
Scarbery didn’t sign with the Astros after being drafted out of high, choosing to pitch at USC. The A’s took him in the first round of the 1973 Draft and he appeared in 60 games with the White Sox from 1979-80.
1969: J.R. Richard, RHP, Ruston (La.) Lincoln HS (No. 2)
In 10 seasons with Houston, Richard went 107-71 with a 3.15 ERA, 76 complete games, 19 shutouts and 1,493 strikeouts in 238 games (221 starts). Richard won the National League ERA title in 1979 with a 2.71 mark over 38 starts while also setting a single-season franchise record for strikeouts with 313. In 1978, he became the first pitcher in franchise history to lead the Majors in strikeouts in a single season (303), and to this day is the only pitcher in club history to lead the Majors in strikeouts in back-to-back seasons. Richard's 1,493 strikeouts are the third-most in club history, while his 3.15 ERA is better than all but two pitchers in club history. Richard was named to the NL All-Star team in 1980 after going 10-4 with a 1.90 ERA in 17 starts, but suffered a career-ending stroke on July 30, 1980.
1968: Martin Cott, C, Buffalo (N.Y.) Hutchinson Tech HS (No. 3)
Cott spent most of his three seasons in the Astros’ system in Class A and appeared in 199 Minor League games.
1967: John Mayberry, 1B, Detroit (Mich.) Northwestern HS (No. 6)
Mayberry played 15 years in the big leagues, including his first four in Houston. He hit .191 with 12 homers in 105 games with Houston, but he was later a two-time All-Star for the Royals in 1973 and '74. He also played for the Blue Jays and Yankees.
1966: Wayne Twitchell, RHP, Portland (Ore.) Woodrow Wilson HS (No. 3)
Twitchell went 21–26 with a 3.53 ERA and 402 strikeouts mostly as a starter in four seasons in the Astros’ system before playing 10 years in the big leagues with the Brewers (1970), Phillies (1971-77), Expos (1977-78), Mets ('79) and Mariners ('79). He was an All-Star for the Phillies in 1973.
1965: Alex Barrett, SS, Atwater (Calif.) HS (No. 4)
Barrett played in 563 Minor League games without reaching the Majors, reaching Triple-A for the Astros in 1968-70.