After 40 rounds and 1,238 total picks, three of which were Longhorns, each Major League ball club finalized its picks in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft last week. The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers both hauled in an impressive bounty of up-and-coming players that will hopefully strengthen their minor league affiliates for the next few years.
In all, the Rangers drafted 43 players over the three-day event. Their picks consisted of three catchers, 14 infield/outfield players, and 26 pitchers (18 right-handers and eight left-handers).
“We’re very happy with the group,” said Kip Fagg, the Rangers’ director of amateur scouting. “The draft went the way we thought, and we were able to get a lot of the guys we earmarked in different rounds.”
While many athletic outfielders and utility players were taken, pitchers dominated Texas’s class in hopes that pitching prospects can help strengthen the weaker link of the current club competing in the American League West. One notable pick from these men on the mound was right-hander Collin Wiles from Overland Park, Kan., who was awarded Gatorade Player of the Year in Kansas. Another was Longhorn great Sam Stafford, who spent much time on the bench this year after suffering an injury to his shoulder and was taken in the 13th round by the Rangers.
The Astros also made an impact on its club after drafting 30 college athletes and 11 high school players. Most notably, they drafted the talented 17-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa from Puerto Rico with the first overall pick in the draft.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have him as part of our organization,” Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “It’s a monumental day for us and for him and for the city of Houston. We’re delighted.”
Astros management believes this is one of its best draft classes in years. After they fell to a franchise worst 56-106 last season to earn the top pick, Houston plans for Correa, along with other young sluggers taken by the club, to develop into offensive superstars.
Along with Sam Stafford, the Longhorns had two other players selected on the second day of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. Left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh round, and utility player Jonathan Walsh was picked by the Los Angeles Angels shortly after in the eleventh round.