The draft picks, etc

So I am wondering what people think, here. The draft pick punishment feels like a pretty big deal to me. How are we fit to spend internationally the next couple years and will the team be more likely to deal a veteran, expensive asset to help restock the farm? Will it be worth going into an int’l money penalty to try and cushion the blow of the lost picks? (OTOH would that only be an option once, as the highest penalty is you-don’t-get-to-sign-internationally-the-next-year?)

In the report Manfred makes it clear that this punishment is not duckable by signing expensive free agents, a la what the Cards did the year they picked up Dexter Fowler instead of not getting a first round pick. We will lose two first round picks and two second round picks, no matter how long it takes to debit the account. That said, should draft class matter? i.e., if this year’s or next’s looks especially lousy or stocked should the Astros consider making a FA splash accordingly? (Not that we’d necessarily have the payroll flexibility.)

I am aggrieved that we’re not going to get to see how Luhnow was going to handle the twilight of this window. I was so excited to see how they planned to stay competitive year in and year out. I’m hoping the replacement GM is ultimately promoted from within, if not someone who is brought back into the organization who learned the Luhnow way. A little better PR and a little less bunker-mentality and we’re not in this boat right now.

It’s a huge deal. The farm system already dropped to lower-middle of the pack after the Greinke trade. After the next two years, it will be shocking if we’re not dead last.

Hope in one hand, shit in the other. There is no way Crane’s promoting from within.

I’m sure you’re right, but it’s hard for me to believe that Crane is going to go from Best Owner in City of Houston History to catastrophe overnight. He was gutsy to do what he did in hiring Luhnow and letting it play out even as the entire country swallowed the narrative that they were assholes.

If he doesn’t promote from within I hope he at least brings on someone who appreciates the work that went into making them a model organization from bottom to…well from bottom up.

This paragraph sums things up nicely.

Does the loss of picks mean they can or will spend more internationally?

The Astros self imposed the lack of draft picks back in 2007, they eventually came back from this, they will come back from losing these picks. Here is how bad the 2007 draft was.

Lost 1st round pick for signing Carlos Lee
Lost 2nd round pick for signing Woody Williams (ouch)
Drafted 3rd round pick Derrick Dietrich out of HS and he chose to go to college.
4th round pick Brett Eibner (High Schoo) chose to go to Arkansas instead of signing.
5th round pick Colin Delome was the highest pick to sign. - Released in 2012
6th round pick David Delinni signed and was released after 2008
7th round pick Russel Dixon signed and was released in 2010
8th round pick Chad Bettis (H. S.) didn’t sign went to Texas Tech

To quote this nice summary from What The Heck Bobby:


  • The Astros signed 34 players: 8 out of the top 15, and 26 out of the bottom 29. The highest pick to sign was at #5.
  • Of the 34 signed players, 30 were released, 3 were traded and 1 chose voluntary retirement.
  • Of the 30 released, 19 did not play in the Astros system beyond 2008 and 6 did not play beyond 2009. The final player to be released out of the final 5 was released on April 18, 2012. Only 1 out of the 30 players who were released appears to still be active in independent ball.
  • Of the 8 players who did not sign, 7 were re-drafted, 5 appear to still be active in organized baseball and 2 have made MLB debuts.
  • Of the 3 players who were traded, only 1 is still active in organized baseball.
  • GM Tim Purpura was fired approximately two months after the 2007 draft.

As others have pointed out, the decision to not re-sign Morton and, as a result, trade a good crop of prospects to acquire Greinke (and his salary) is really going to hurt in the years ahead.

True, but I would have felt a lot differently about it had seven outs been made without some other things happening first.

There was no way to know, of course, but you probably don’t make that trade if you know you are losing those draft picks. It’s going to hurt.

I think people forget how much of a crapshoot the baseball draft is. Here are the Astros 1st and 2nd round picks since 2012 (does not include compensation picks - just true 1st & 2nd round picks):

1st - Correa
2nd - Nolan Fontana - has appeared in 20 MLB games so far. Waived by Astros in 2016

1st - Appel - Never reached the majors
2nd - Andrew Thurman - Traded in Gattis trade but never reached AAA

1st - Aiken (Didn’t sign) turned into Bregman pick
2nd - AJ Reed - waived, has appeared in 62 games in 4 seasons.

1st - Tucker (Bregman was picked higher but was compensation) - Jury is out but has solid player potential
2nd - Tom Eshelman - traded in the Giles trade, then traded again to Baltimore, pitched in 10 games last year.

1st - Whitley - Looks like he might be ready this year but has been both great and awful thus far. Current #1 prospect in organization
2nd - Ronnie Dawson - current #16 prospect in organization, short stint at AAA last year. Hit .207 between AA/AAA last year.

1st - J. B. Bukauskas - Traded in Greinke Package - Current #10 prospect in Dbacks org.
2nd - Joe Perez - hasn’t made it to A ball yet. Very young. Not ranked in top MLB top prospect list.

1st - Seth Beer - traded to Dbacks, Big bat but limited positionally
2nd - Jason Schroeder - HS pitcher who has 1K per IP but 3 more walks than IP in 43 innings. Still time to develop. #24 prospect in Org by MLB.

1st - Korey Lee - #3 Prospect in org by MLB. Below slot signing.
2nd - Grae Kssinger - College shortstop, not ranked in top 30 in org by MLB.

When you look where the Astros plan to be picking, here are the outcomes for picks 25-30 since 2012:

2 out of 6 have appeared in MLB (Richie Shaffer & Lewis Brinson) combined war = -2.5

4 out of 6 (Christian Arroyo, Phil Ervin, Ryne Stanek, Travis Demeritte)
combined war = 1.0

5 out of 6 (Matt Chapman!, Michael Chavis, Luke Weaver, Alex Blandino, Luis Ortiz) combined war = 24.6 (18.5 is Chapman - what a steal!)

3 out of 6 (DJ Stewart, Taylor Ward, Mike Soroka) combined war = 5 (Soroka is 5.5, also Walker Buehler was taken #24 in that draft)

2016: (it really is too soon for this class)
2 out of 6 (Eric Lauer, Carter Kieboom) combined war = -0.6

None have made in from 2017, 2018 or 2019.

There are only one great and one very good player in that pool right now. Chapman and Soroka. By the time you get to where the Astros are picking, it is going to be slim pickings anyway.

So yes, it will hurt but I don’t think it is going to be as bad as many are thinking.

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Good stuff.

Thanks for that analysis.

They were not going to be able to sign Morton. There is no point putting him into this discussion.

We have a GM from the Rays.

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