Astros sign 3rd-round Draft pick Ferrell
Right-hander tallied 14 saves, 2.56 ERA during junior year at TCU
HOUSTON -- The consummate competitor, Riley Ferrell operated with fire on the mound as a starter at A&M Consolidated High School.
When he arrived at nearby TCU, coach Jim Schlossnagle introduced the "selfless teammate" concept to the entire Horned Frogs team. And in order for Ferrell to abide, he'd need to move to the bullpen after being a starter for virtually his entire life.
"I thought it was a natural adjustment," Ferrell said. "I was a really competitive starter out of high school, and being in a position where there are runners at second and third with one out, you can't go in that situation and be successful unless you're competitive."
Ferrell excelled, setting a TCU record with 32 career saves and vaulting to the third round of the 2015 Draft, where he was selected by the Astros -- the team he grew up pulling for. Houston introduced their third-round pick Friday after he agreed to a deal MLB.com's Jim Callis reported to be for $1 million. The club did not confirm terms of the deal.
Astros director of amateur scouting Mike Elias said Ferrell will be assigned to Class A Quad Cities and will depart on Saturday. For Ferrell, that's just in time after coming off what he called some of the better outings of his career toward the end of his TCU tenure.
"With only 29, 30 innings or so, I'm still fresh, I'm ready to go," Ferrell said. "Ready to pitch however many innings they want me to pitch. I wanted to make sure I got out quick and was able to continue that streak I was on. See where it goes."
Ferrell threw 31 2/3 innings his junior season, issuing only 10 hits while striking out 53. Elias raved about Ferrell's slider, a pitch the College Station native said he originally struggled to get over for strikes, but got more control of as his career progressed.
Many have likened Ferrell to another former TCU hurler -- Brandon Finnegan -- who ascended the Royals' system rapidly last season and was instrumental in their run to the World Series in the same year he was drafted.
Aside from one obvious difference, Ferrell relishes the comparison.
"Well, I'm right-handed," Ferrell said with a laugh. "He's a great guy, one of my best friends, someone I really looked up to on the field in the two years I was with him. I keep in contact with him a lot, so it's great that somebody's going to compare me to him, but I still know there's some work to do."
A self-proclaimed Astros junkie, Ferrell played with Cavan and Conor Biggio -- sons of newly elected Hall of Famer Craig Biggio -- on the Houston Heat in high school, and he recently met Andy Pettitte, whose son also works with Ferrell's offseason pitching coach.
"It's great that not only do I get a chance one day to earn my spot with this jersey on, but it's also an organization that those guys played in," Ferrell said.