The Astros had a strange and disappointing 2014 draft, failing to sign top overall pick Brady Aiken and also failing to sign highly regarded fifth-rounder Jacob Nix when they lost the bonus pool allotment contingent upon Aiken’s signing. But amateur scouting director Mike Elias is pleased with his team’s 2015 draft and feels it makes up for the disappointing results in 2014, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes.
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget about that unfortunate part of that draft class,” says Elias. “I think we took a lot of other good players in that draft, but to certainly not sign the first overall pick, have what happened happen, and have the other complications that arose from that occur, it was an unpleasant experience I think for everyone involved.”
Since the Astros didn’t sign Aiken, they got the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, which they used to sign LSU shortstop Alex Bregman. They also got Florida high school outfielder Kyle Tucker with their regular first-round pick (No. 5 overall), then picked another top talent, Georgia high school outfielder Daz Cameron, with the No. 37 overall pick, a Comp Round A selection they had acquired in the trade that sent Jarred Cosart the Marlins. All three have begun their careers in the Astros organization.
That the Astros had both the No. 2 and No. 5 overall picks gave them an enormous bonus pool of about $17.3MM, far bigger than that of that of the Rockies, who had the second biggest pool at about $14MM, and more than twice as large as the average pool, which came in at around $7.46MM.
The Astros have signed all their picks in the first ten rounds. Bregman signed for $5.9MM, significantly less than his allotment of about $7.4MM, and the Astros saved on later picks as well, picking college seniors in the seventh through tenth rounds as a way of limiting costs. They were thus able to sign Cameron away from a Florida State commitment with a hefty $4MM bonus that ties Tucker for the fourth-largest bonus in the entire draft so far (keeping in mind that top overall pick Dansby Swanson has not yet signed). The Astros also signed their 11th-round pick, California high school lefty Patrick Sandoval, for $900K, of which $800K counted against their pool.
“[T]o come away with three top 10 players, essentially, out of two high picks and a (compensation round pick at No. 37), it’s huge,” Elias says. “And it is, I think, the optimal outcome for the compensation that we received for not signing Brady last year. … [O]n paper, I do feel that we made the most of a scenario we were presented with for 2015.”