Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Looking Back at the Astros 2006 Draft Class

Over the last few weeks, we've been looking back at some of the Astros draft classes to see where things stand. Last time out, we went all the way back to 2005 so that we could look at a full 10 years of draft info. Today, we'll pick up the 2006 class. You remember 2006. That was the year that Barry Bonds hit home run number 715, Lance Armstrong was honored with an ESPY award, and Roger Goodell became the NFL commissioner. Ummm, maybe you don't want to remember that.

Much like the 2005 draft, the 2006 class was not a strong one. With these two underperforming classes preceding the Titanic of all classes (2007), it is little wonder that Astros farm system depth hit rock bottom. It wasn't just one poor draft class that hurt the system. It was three straight. That, my dears, is how the Astros got into this mess and that, my dears, is why it's taken so long to dig out of that hole.

Let's look at the numbers:

50 players drafted
29 players signed
0 players still in the Astros system
9 players still active in organized baseball in 2014*
3 made it to the major leagues

30 position players drafted/15 signed
15 from high school/3 signed
3 from junior college/1 signed
12 from college/11 signed

20 pitchers drafted/14 signed
4 from high school/0 signed
2 from junior college/1 signed
14 from college/13 signed

*Of the 9 players who were still active in organized baseball in 2014, three are players who did not sign with Houston, but later signed with other teams; three were released; one left via free agency and two were traded. Three played in the major leagues in 2014 (Johnson, Norris and Karns, with Karns only appearing in two games at that level for the season). One played for a minor league affiliate of a major league team (Wong) in 2014 and the final five played in independent ball.

Here is a little on each of them. Players who were still playing in 2014 are in bold. The position shown is the position at which the player was drafted, and I have also indicated in parentheses whether they were drafted out of high school (HS), junior college (JC) or college (C).

1. C Max Sapp (HS) - Released in 2010

This is one of the more bizarre stories of a first round flame out. Sapp played three years in the Astros system, hitting .224/.310/.313, before spending the entire 2009 season on the DL. In December 2008, he contracted viral meningitis and spent a month in the hospital, literally fighting for his life. He continued to experience seizures and never seemed to have fully recovered his strength and was eventually released in April 2010.

2. RHP Sergio Perez (C) - Left via free agency in 2012

Perez played in the Astros organization for seven years, leaving via free agency in November 2012. He played briefly in the Oakland system in the Spring of 2013 before heading to Mexico. He was signed by the Rays during Spring Training 2014, but never played in a regular season game for them. He spent 2014 playing independent ball for Long Island in the Atlantic League. He has a career ERA of 4.37 and a 1.520 WHIP.

3. OF Nick Moresi (C) - Drafted in MiLB phase of Rule 5 Draft in 2009

Moresi spent four years in the system, making it as far as AA before being lost to the Nationals in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft in 2009. He was released by the Nationals a year later, ending his career with a .222/.285/.252 batting line.

4. 3B Chris Johnson (C) - Traded in 2012

Johnson played in the Astros system from 2006 until his trade to the Diamondbacks in July 2012 (for Bobby Borchering and Marc Krauss), making his major league debut for the Astros on September 9, 2009. He was subsequently traded to the Braves in January 2013. He has a career major league batting line of .283.319/.419.

5. RHP Casey Hudspeth (C) - Released in 2010

Hudspeth had a 4.74 ERA and a 1.479 WHIP in 90 games (86 starts) prior to his release in March 2010.

6. RHP Bud Norris (C) - Traded in 2013

Norris made his major league debut for the Astros on July 29, 2009, playing in the organization until his July 2013 trade to the Orioles for LHP Josh Hader, OF L.J. Hoes and a competitive balance draft pick that ultimately netted the team OF Derek Fisher in the 2014 draft. In 158 games (155 starts) thus far in his major league career, Norris is 53-57 with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.385 WHIP.

7. LHP David Qualben (C) - Released in 2009

Qualben was released in March 2009 after three seasons in the system. He subsequently played three more seasons in independent ball, ending his career with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.455 WHIP.

8. OF Jimmy Van Ostrand (C) - Released in 2012

Drafted as an outfielder, Van Ostrand ended up playing predominantly first base during his tenure with the Astros which lasted through the 2011 season. After his March 2012 release, he briefly played independent ball until he was signed by the Nationals in May 2012. He left the Nationals in November 2013 via free agency, ending with a .282/.348/.432 batting line in 770 games. He was a volunteer coach for Boston College in 2014.

9. 2B Greg Buchanan (C) - Released in 2008

Buchanan played in 293 games over three seasons, ending with a .247/.304/.328 line.

10. RHP Nathan Karns (HS) - Did not sign

Karns went on to North Carolina University and then transferred to Texas Tech. He was drafted out of Texas Tech in the 12th round in 2009 by the Nationals, but had to undergo labrum surgery and did not play for them until 2011. He made his major league debut for the Nationals on May 28, 2013 and was subsequently traded to the Rays in February 2014. In five starts over two seasons at the major league level, he has a 6.00 ERA and a 7.05 WHIP. In 87 games (81 starts) at the minor league level, he has a 3.45 ERA and a 1.202 WHIP.

11. LHP Tom Vessella (C) - Released in 2009

Vessella pitched in the organization for three seasons until his release in March 2009. After playing for two seasons in independent ball, he was picked up by the Giants and played in their organization until his release in March 2014. He went back to playing independent ball in 2014 and currently has a career 5.52 ERA and 1.684 WHIP.

12. RHP Bryan Hallberg (C) - Released in 2010

Hallberg played in the Astros system for four years prior to his March 2010 release, ending his career with a 4.51 ERA and a 1.477 WHIP.

13. LHP Chris Salamida (C) - Released in 2010

Like Vessella, Salamida is another stubborn lefty unwilling to give up the dream. After being released in March 2010, Salamida started playing independent ball and has now played five seasons in Winnipeg. His has a lifetime 4.40 ERA and a 1.352 WHIP.

14. C Justin Tellam (C) - Released in 2008

After three seasons with the Astros and three additional seasons in independent ball, Tellam ended his career hitting .258/.329/.400.

15. LHP Kevin Fox (C) - Released in 2007

Fox was released in December 2007 after only two seasons in the Astros organization. He was briefly signed by the Twins in 2008 but did not play in any regular season games for them. He had a 5.27 ERA and a 1.665 WHIP in 34 bullpen appearances in the system.

16. OF Drew Holder (C) - Released in 2008

After two seasons in the Astros system and two additional seasons in independent ball, Holder ended his career with a .259/.330/.379 batting line over 256 games.

17. RHP Justin Stiver (C) - Released in 2006

Stiver pitched all of six innings with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.333 WHIP before leaving professional baseball behind forever.

18. RHP Colt Adams (JC) - Released in 2009

The Astros released Adams in March 2009. He pitched in 24 games (13 starts) with a 8.41 ERA and a 1.945 WHIP.

19. OF Orlando Rosales (C) - Released in 2008

Rosales made it as far as AA Corpus Christi before he was released in November 2008. In 270 games, he hit .251/.301/.343.

20. SS Mark Sobolewski (HS) - Did not sign

After attending the University of Miami, Sobolewski was drafted in the 4th round in 2008 by the Blue Jays as a third baseman. He was later lost to the Twins in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft in December 2012. After his release by the Twins in June 2013, he started playing in independent ball and was still active in 2014. His lifetime batting line to date is .252/.301/.380 over 554 games.

21. LHP Anthony Bello (C) - Released in 2009

Bello played in the system for three seasons prior to his release in March 2009. After sitting out 2009, he played independent ball in 2010, 2011 and 2013, ending with a 4.67 ERA and a 1.527 WHIP.

22. RHP Chad Wagler (C) - Released in 2009

Wagler pitched in the Astros system from 2006 through his release in June 2009. In 97 games (19 starts), he had a 4.61 ERA and a 1.378 WHIP.

23. SS Tim Torres (C) - Released in 2008

Torres played three seasons for the Astros. After his November 2008 release, he was immediately picked up by the Marlins and was in that organization for another three seasons. He then played one season each in the Rockies and Cubs organizations, signing on with those teams as a minor league free agent. 2014 saw Torres playing independent ball. In 814 games, he has a .254/.351/.384 batting line.

24. LHP John Wiedenbauer (HS) - Did not sign

Wiedenbauer went on to attend the University of Tampa and was drafted by the Angels in the 50th Round in 2010. He only played for them for two seasons (4.92 ERA & 4.96 WHIP), but wasn't released until January 2014. My Google-Fu let me down on this one. I couldn't find any information as to what happened to Wiedenbauer between his last game in September 2011 and his release (according to Baseball America) in January 2014. I suspect alien abduction.

25. RHP Jamaal Hollis (HS) - Did not sign

Hollis was drafted in the 33rd round in 2010 by the White Sox out of Miami University of Ohio and played for them for two seasons before being released in January 2012. He had a 3.39 ERA and a 1.492 WHIP in 40 bullpen appearances.

26. 3B Lenell McGee (HS) - Did not sign

McGee was drafted (as on outfielder) in the 13th round in 2008 out of Oakton Community College (Skokie, Illinois) by the Dodgers. He played in that organization until his release in July 2010. After a brief stint in independent ball, he ended his career with a .236/.321/.345 batting line.

27. 1B Cirilo "Alberto" Cruz (C) - Released in 2008

Cruz played in the Astros system for two seasons and was released out of Extended Spring Training in June 2008. He went on to play three seasons of independent ball and ended with a .242/.362/.417 batting line in 294 games.

28. 3B Brandon Caipen (C) - Released in 2008

Caipen played for two seasons, hitting .246/.340/.348 in 113 games, prior to his February 2008 release.

29. OF Rafeal Parks (HS) - Released in 2008

(No, I did not misspell the name Rafeal, at least not according to Baseball America and Baseball-Reference.) Parks was a DFE (draft, follow and evaluate) who didn't sign until May 2007. He played in only 25 games that season, hitting .141/.203/.156, prior to his release out of Extended Spring Training in 2008.

30. 3B Eric Taylor (C) - Released in 2009

Taylor played mostly at first base, putting up a .268/.353/.386 line in 319 games from 2006 until his release in May 2009.

31. RHP Kyle DeYoung (C) - Released in 2008

After two seasons in the system, DeYoung was released out of Spring Training in 2008 after compiling a 4.62 ERA and a 1.443 WHIP in 69 bullpen appearances.

32. RHP Adam Hale (C) - Released after the 2006 season

Hale was released at some point following his one season in the organization. He had a 2.13 ERA and a 1.382 WHIP in 17 bullpen appearances. After taking a year off, Hale re-invented himself as an outfielder and played in independent ball from 2008 through 2010, ending with a .252/.378/.455 batting line in 255 games.

33. OF Codi Harshman (HS) - Did not sign

Harshman attended Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, but never played professionally.

34. RHP John Anderson (HS) - Did not sign

Anderson went on to Bossier Community College and Louisiana Tech, but it does not appear that he ever played professionally.

35. OF Patrick Allen (JC) - Did not sign

Allen went on to attend Everett Community College, but never played professionally.

36. C Johnathan Moore (HS) - Did not sign

Moore was drafted in the 45th round in 2010 by the Rangers out of Houston Baptist University. He played in only 13 games and was released by the Rangers in April 2011. After 26 more games in independent ball, Moore's career ended with a .246/.317/.316 batting line.

37. SS Trent Henderson (HS) - Did not sign

Henderson went on to attend Skagit Valley Community College in Washington, but never played professionally.

38. C Casey Anderson (HS) - Did not sign

Anderson does not appear to have ever played college or professional ball.

39. RHP Will Kline (C) - Did not sign

Kline was drafted by the Rays in the second round in 2007 out of the University of Mississippi. He pitched in only one season, going 0-4 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.690 WHIP in nine starts. A torn labrum put him on the DL in 2008 and he remained on the DL for the next few years through his voluntary retirement in May 2011.

40. SS Steve Detwiler (HS) - Did not sign

Detwiler went on to attend Fresno State University, but was not drafted again. He spent 2011 and 2012 playing independent ball, hitting .232/.334/.338 in 82 games.

41. OF Axel Gonzalez (HS) - Released in 2008

Drafted as a DFE, Gonzalez did not sign until May 2007. He played one season in the Astros organization, hitting .213/.291/.323, and was released in June 2008.

42. C Kevin Sullivan (HS) - Did not sign

Sullivan went on to attend Bradley University, but never played professionally.

43. OF Greg Joseph (JC) - Did not sign

Joseph never played professionally.

44. OF Adam Pilate (HS) - Did not sign

Pilate attended Bevill State Community College in Alabama, but never played professionally.

45. OF Cody Madison (HS) - Did not sign

Madison attended Riverside Community College and Cal State San Bernadino, but never played professionlly.

46. SS Joey Wong (HS) - Did not sign

Wong was drafted by the Rockies in the 24th Round in 2009 out of Oregon State University. He has played in the Rockies system for six years, spending the last two years with their AA affiliate. In 477 games, he has hit .241/.321/.331. He is currently 26.

47. C Mike Pericht (HS) - Did not sign

Pericht was drafted by the Dodgers in the 15th Round in 2009 out of St. Joseph's College in Indiana. He played in the Dodgers system for four seasons, ending with a .256/.346/.448 batting line.

48. LHP Jerry Quinones (JC) - Did not sign

It does not appear that Quinones attended school beyond Compton Community College and he never played professionally.

49. 1B Andy Launier (JC) - Released in 2008

Launier was another DFE who wasn't signed until 2007. He only played one season in the Astros system before he was released out of Spring Training in 2008, and then played in a handful of games in independent ball before ending with a .247/.291/.371 line.

50. OF Tyler Henley (C) - Did not sign

Henley was drafted by the Cardinals in the 8th Round in 2007 out of Rice University. He played in the Cardinals organization from 2007 through his release in May 2011. He continued playing in independent ball in 2011, but that was his last season. He ended his career with a .275/.346/.438 batting line.

Previous draft reviews:

2005 Draft
2007 Draft
2008 Draft
2009 Draft
2010 Draft
2012 Draft

1 comment:

  1. One can only hope that little Timmy P works this same magic on the Ranger farm system.