Astros draft Rogers to start college-focused Day 2

Houston takes Michigan southpaw with 4th-round pick

June 10th, 2016

HOUSTON -- The Astros loaded up on college pitchers on Day 2 of the 2016 Draft, which consisted of Rounds 3-10, but their first pick Friday was Tulane catcher Jake Rogers, who's one of the better defensive college catchers in recent years.

All eight picks made by the Astros on Friday were college players -- five pitchers, one catcher, one third baseman and one outfielder. Astros scouting director Mike Elias said taking so many college players during those rounds isn't unusual because high school players who might go in that range are hard to sign away from college commitments.

"We took some arms we really like today, and we felt that was one of the strengths remaining on the board in the three through 10 rounds, where we were picking today," he said. "We got five pitchers today, and they were guys our scouts were excited about. Good arms from the left and right side, but also good performance, whether they were at a big college, small college, starters, relievers. There were some arms we like and guys we were targeting for sure."

Track every Astros pick from Day 2 of the 2016 MLB Draft.

The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at 11 a.m. CT.

Here's a closer look at the Astros' picks Friday:

Round 3 (97th overall), Jake Rogers, C, Tulane University

Rogers, considered one of the top defensive players in the Draft at any position, fills a need for the Astros at catcher.

Rogers hit .261 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 61 games for the Green Wave this year, but he's known for his arm and his quick release. In 2016, he threw out 27 of 43 attempted basestealers (63 percent). In the Cape Cod League last year, he threw out 15 of 21.

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"The thing that's pretty impressive about Jake is there's a lot of arm-strength guys out there, but his receiving-to-transfer accuracy is as good as I've ever had," Tulane coach David Pierce said. "There's guys that have great arm strength and guys that have great transfer, but the ability to be accurate as consistently as he was is remarkable. He has the right tools to play in the big leagues. It's going to come down to whether he hits enough."

Rogers, who's originally from Lubbock, Texas, went to high school in Canyon, Texas.

"I think of myself as a good leader and a good, solid catcher that pitchers love to throw to," Rogers told "Hopefully, I can get to the big leagues soon and play really well and keep working hard and working at my game so I can get better."

Elias said Rogers is the player they're most excited about.

"This is one of the better defensive catchers in the last few years in the Draft," he said. "He's an outstanding catch-and-throw guy we've been scouting for a number of years. He was on the Cape; we've seen him at Tulane. His caught-stealing percentages in college baseball have been historic. … He's got a cannon and really smooth hands and it's something we really value. Offensively, he's improved every year and had his best year this year and led the team in walks."

Round 4 (127th overall), Brett Adcock, LHP, Michigan

The Astros continued drafting to need with their fourth-round pick Friday, selecting University of Michigan left-handed pitcher Brett Adcock. The southpaw appeared in 15 games, making 14 starts, as a junior last season and was 7-5 with a 3.22 ERA and a .190 opponents' batting average. He struck out 100 batters in 78 1/3 innings.

Adcock is good friends with Astros second-round pick Ronnie Dawson, an outfielder from Ohio State.

"I'm just going to embrace any opportunity they give me to be a starter or a reliever," Adcock told "It doesn't matter. I'm going to give my 100 percent in anything I come across."

Round 5 (157th overall), Abraham Toro-Hernandez, 3B, Seminole State College (Okla.)

Toro-Hernandez hit .439 with 20 homers, 86 RBIs and 94 runs scored in 55 games last season for Seminole State. A switch-hitter, he played third base last season as a freshman, but he could wind up as a catcher down the road because of his arm strength. He can throw 92 mph off the mound. His family moved from Venezuela to Montreal just before he was born, and he can speak English, French and Spanish fluently.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Toro-Hernandez told "I know the Astros liked me for quite a few months, but I wasn't expecting to go in the fifth round. I'm pretty excited."

Toro-Hernandez considers himself more of a gap-to-gap hitter than a power hitter. He came up as a shortstop but was moved to third base when he got to Seminole. He didn't know he was going to be drafted until he heard his name called.

"I was with my mom and she was crying," he said. "Big moment."

Round 6 (187th overall), Stephen Wrenn, CF, Georgia

The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder started 162 games in center field in his career at Georgia, hitting .292 with 13 homers, 74 RBIs and 56 stolen bases. Wrenn's father, Steve, played baseball and basketball at Wake Forest plus spent four years playing in the Cleveland Indians organization.

"It's so great," Wrenn told "It's just such a relieving feeling. It's a very special moment for me."

Wrenn was struck in the face while running in for a fly ball during an exhibition game before the start of the season and wound up suffering three fractures when the ball clipped his glove and hit him. He wore a face-guard on his batting helmet for the first seven weeks of the season.

Round 7 (217th overall), Tyler Buffett, RHP, Oklahoma State

The 6-foot-1 right-hander appeared in 34 games for the Cowboys last year, all but three in relief. In 67 1/3 innings, he allowed 59 hits, 29 walks, struck out 66 batters and had nine saves as the Cowboys' primary closer. He finished his career at Oklahoma State with 134 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Round 8 (247th overall), Nick Hernandez, RHP, Houston

The Astros drafted the hometown product, who finished the season with a 3-0 record and 1.40 ERA in a team-high 29 appearances for the Cougars in 2016. He struck out 67 batters in 51 1/3 innings. He held opponents to a .154 batting average.

"The thing with Nick is he's a relentless worker," Houston coach Todd Whitting said. "He's a workhorse guy out of the bullpen. He's a self-made guy. … I don't know if I had a kid work for a one-year period like Nick Hernandez did for one year. He deserves it."

Hernandez went to Dulles High School just outside Houston and then to nearby Alvin Community College before transferring to Houston.

"It's awesome because I'm from Houston and get to go from Dulles to Alvin to UH and get drafted by the 'Stros," Hernandez told

The Astros got an up-close look at Hernandez when he pitched in the College Classic at Minute Maid Park earlier this year.

"It's always fun to get a guy from Rice or UH or any of the local schools," Elias said. "We got a real close look at him, because they come to Minute Maid Park every year and he had a dominant season closing for the Cougars. … He's got a good fastball, good breaking ball and should be somebody that transitions to pro ball pretty smoothly."

Round 9 (277th overall), Ryan Hartman, LHP, Tennessee Wesleyan

Hartman appeared in 17 games this season, making 13 starts, and was 10-1 with a 0.64 ERA. He struck out 129 batters and walked only 12 in 98 innings. He was named a Perfect Game/Rawlings Pitcher of the Year following this season. His only loss came in the NAIA World Series.

"He really dominated at that level," Elias said. "It's a smaller, out-of-the-way program, but he still has good stuff. He's over 90 mph from the left side and good control. He's definitely one that will also start in a rotation or piggyback capacity for us."

Round 10 (307th overall), Dustin Hunt, RHP, Northeastern

A three-year starter, he started 14 games in his senior season at Northeastern and went 6-3 with a 2.72 ERA. In 86 innings, he allowed 68 hits, 27 walks and struck out a career-high 93 batters while holding opponents to a .219 batting average.