Amateur Signing Bonuses: Astros

Next up in our series looking at each team's amateur spending, the Houston Astros…

  1. Ariel Ovando, $2.6-2.8MM (2010)
  2. Delino DeShields Jr., $2.15MM (2010)
  3. Chris Burke, $2.125MM (2001)
  4. Jason Castro, $2.07MM (2008)
  5. Max Sapp, $1.4MM (2006)

The Astros made a major splash on the Latin American market this summer by signing Ovando, a 16-year-old Dominican outfielder. The exact amount of the bonus isn't known, but it's easily enough to set the franchise record. Ovando's playing career will begin next season.

The son of the man once traded straight up for Pedro Martinez, DeShields was the eighth overall pick in this June's draft and signed for a bonus roughly $100K over slot. He started his career as an 18-year-old down in rookie ball, hitting .289/.337/.395 in just 83 plate appearances. Like Ovando, DeShields' career will begin in earnest next year.

Castro was a bit of a surprise with the tenth overall pick in 2008, but he has more than justified the selection by reaching the majors this June. He hit an unimpressive .205/.286/.287 in 217 plate appearances with the big league club, but that's not out of the ordinary for a 23-year-old rookie backstop. Castro is clearly Houston's catcher of the present and future.

Burke, the tenth overall pick in 2001, reached the big leagues in 2004 and spent the next three full seasons playing all over the field as a super-sub, getting over 350 plate appearances each year. A career .249/.319/.377 hitter with the Astros, Burke was shipped to the Diamondbacks in the Jose Valverde trade in December 2007.

Sapp, the 23rd overall pick in 2006, had his career derailed by a life-threatening battle with viral meningitis, chronic sinus disease, and seizures. He was released earlier this year after hitting .224/.310/.313 in 839 minor league plate appearances. Sapp hasn't played in a game since 2008.


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5 Comments on "Amateur Signing Bonuses: Astros"


4 years 9 months ago

I have never heard of this Ovando kid, mustve been a non draft signing.

start_wearing_purple
4 years 9 months ago

First paragraph, international signing.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 9 months ago

I think it was right before the All-Star break but maybe the reason you dont remember is becasue Cenas, Mateo, the kid on the A’s, and Cardona had signed and there were a lot of names so maybe too many to remember…

But the ‘Stros lately have been really involved in the international market. I like a guy named Angel Gonzalez among plenty of others, like Jose Perdomo who had an incredible season in the gulf and Michael Feliz and Christian Moronta.

I really like the Astros system.

4 years 9 months ago

Well I never really follow any baseball draft stuff or signings other than FA because they essentially mean nothing for 4 years. The only sport I pay attention to the draft in is football.

The_Porcupine
4 years 9 months ago

The Astros used to be really strong in the early and mid 90’s with signing and drafting players out of Venezuela and the surrounding area. Produced a lot of high quality players (Bobby Abreu was one) and I think they were regarded as having the best minor league system for a few years. Unfortunately as ownership shifted to more of a win now mentality, scouting and signing in that area became neglected. As a result, their minor league system bottomed out and very few useful players were developed. The Astros have renewed their focus on scouting in the last 2-3 years and hopefully it will pay similar results as it did in the 90’s.