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Astros drawn to Holberton's poise

With so many high school players drafted every year, maturity is not a word thrown around often on Draft boards.

That's often the first word scouts use to describe North Carolina utility player Brian Holberton, whom the Astros selected on Friday in the ninth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

Reliable and versatile are the other words that fit Holberton. The junior has seemingly played wherever the Tar Heels needed him this spring. He has moved between second base, the outfield, catcher and designated hitter fluidly during his collegiate career, and he even stepped into temporary leadoff and cleanup duties this year due to injury.

The Charlotte native is only 5-foot-10, but his bat doesn't suffer. He's hit .308 with 13 doubles, 10 homers and 52 RBIs for UNC, which has been ranked No. 1 for most of the spring.

"He's one of the guys who made that lineup click," said Astros director of amateur scouting Mike Elias. "He has the power and the bat to slot anywhere in your order."

Holberton doesn't have a set position, but his ability to dabble and even excel in every part of the field is ultimately what got him drafted. Elias said Holberton will get a shot at catching.

"What pushed him into our top 10 rounds was that we saw him catch in the ACC Tournament, so we're going to try him out there," Elias said. "If that works out, we might really have something. He's just a solid ballplayer."

Though he's not a physical specimen likely to shoot up Draft boards with another year of college, Holberton is academic minded -- he's a business major at UNC. He even said in high school it would take "being drafted in the first round" to lure him away from UNC. That could make him tough to sign.

Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for
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