Astros add 'a lot of top targets' in 2015 Draft
HOUSTON -- At 5:24 p.m. CT on Wednesday, brief applause erupted from the second floor of Union Station inside Minute Maid Park.
Angelo State University southpaw Steve Naemark had just been announced as the Astros' last selection of the 2015 MLB Draft, culminating a class that left Houston scouting director Mike Elias with a wide smile as he addressed reporters.
"We're especially excited by this year's haul," Elias said. "Our first day really set up the rest of the class. We got three of our favorite players in the entire class with our first three picks."
Those first three picks -- shortstop Alex Bregman and outfielders Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron -- were all rated in the Top 10 by MLB.com heading into the Draft. Bregman and Tucker were taken with the second and fifth-overall picks, respectfully, while Cameron fell to Houston at No. 37 thanks to questions about his signability.
With the remaining 39 Draft picks, Houston drafted 21 pitchers -- only three coming from the high school ranks. One of those three, Luken Baker, fell to Houston in the 37th round after he informed teams of his firm commitment to TCU before the Draft.
• Astros select Bregman No. 2 overall
• Family ties: Astros take Tucker No. 5
• Seeing MLB pedigree, Astros take Cameron
• Ferrell among Astros' Day 2 college picks
• Polished arms part of Astros' Draft haul
Elias acknowledged Baker's commitment but said the team couldn't pass up the local standout.
"We love him," Elias said. "We followed him all year. We knew he was going to be a very tough sign, and it sounds like he's leaning heavily toward school. We put a lot of work into scouting him, we know him and his family very well; they're great people. Huge local talent. We certainly want to keep the lines of communication open throughout the summer."
Houston targeted polished college pitchers throughout the Draft, nabbing Cal State Fullerton standout Thomas Eshelman (No. 46) and TCU closer Riley Ferrell (No. 79) with consecutive picks. Of the 21 pitchers selected, 15 are right-handed and six are lefties.
The Astros also addressed their depth at catcher, adding four backstops to the mix, including fourth-round Oklahoma selection Anthony Hermelyn and eighth-round USC product Garrett Stubbs on Tuesday.
Wednesday's rapid-fire, 29-round final day was more centered on shoring up the Houston farm system, a task Elias said he and his staff completed nicely to go along with the successes of the first 10 rounds.
"I think overall we did great and got all our targets," Elias said. "Our goal is to get the best prospects we can, especially in the early rounds. We got a lot of our top targets, the best players on the board for us, and we did manage to fill out our Minor League needs in the process, especially today."
Wednesday also gave Elias a way to acknowledge two Astros legends. Houston drafted Conor Biggio, son of soon-to-be Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, and Kody Clemens, son of Roger Clemens, with consecutive picks in the 34th and 35th rounds.
"They're great kids, great families," Elias said. "Both of their fathers continue to help our baseball-operations efforts on the field at Spring Training. Craig, in particular, is very active in our Draft effort, he sees a lot of players and gives us reports on the ones he sees."