It will be years before we know who really won the 2015 MLB Draft, but thanks to a controversial decision in last year’s draft and a little bit of luck this year, the Houston Astros ended up with three of the best players available.
This year’s haul was set up by last year’s draft when the Astros created controversy by not signing pitcher Brady Aiken, whom they selected with the top pick in the draft. After initially reaching an agreement on a $US6.5 million contract, a physical raised red flags, causing the Astros to lower their offer. Aiken declined the lower offer, and eventually tore a ligament in his elbow pitching for a baseball academy and needed surgery.
One reason the Astros were able to play hardball with Aiken is that baseball rules compensate teams who fail to sign high draft picks as long they make an offer that reaches a minimum threshold. By failing to sign Aiken, the Astros were awarded a comparable pick in this year’s draft: pick No. 2.
As a result, the Astros entered the 2015 draft with two of the top five picks in the draft, the No. 2 pick and the No. 5 pick (their regular pick).
With those two picks, the Astros took shortstop Alex Bregman from LSU and high school outfielder Kyle Tucker. Bregman was considered the 4th best player in the draft by both MLB.com and Baseball America. They also had Tucker ranked as the No. 7 and No. 8 prospect, respectively.
On top of those picks, the Astros also owned the No. 37 pick, and this is where Lady Luck helped them.
Daz Cameron, a high school outfielder who was considered one of the top six players available, fell in the draft. According to John Heyman of CBSSports.com, teams were scared away by his $US5 million contract demand. If he goes unsigned, Cameron intends to play college baseball at Florida State.
When Cameron was still on the board at No. 37, the Astros jumped. He was ranked No. 6 by MLB.com and No. 5 by Baseball America.
In other words, the first-place Astros, one of the biggest surprises in baseball this season, just added three of the top eight players available in the draft.
Of course, the Astros still have to sign all three. But Houston has the negotiating advantage at this point with three top players. If one player’s price is too steep and they sign just two of the players, they will still have had a wildly successful draft.
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