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Astros find a plethora of pitchers
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06/04/2002 10:39 pm ET 
Astros find a plethora of pitchers
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com

Lance Berkman was the 16th overall pick in 1997 draft. (Pat Sullivan/AP)

  • Astros round-by-round picks

    HOUSTON -- Right-handed pitchers dominated the first 22 picks on the Astros' list of 2002 draftees. Upon the conclusion of the first day of the draft, the Astros had selected 12 right-handers, three left-handers, three outfielders, two infielders, one catcher, and one player who was listed as both a first baseman and an outfielder.

    "We had it scripted out where we had some position players that we were interested in," Director of Scouting David Lakey said. "It just didn't work that way. That was the nature of this draft. It was all pitching -- it was very thin on position players, especially college position players. When you're picking 29th (out of 30 teams), you're at the mercy of the other clubs. You have to go with what you can get. Pitching dominated the draft and why not? You might as well load up on it."

    Derick Grigsby, the Astros' first-round pick, is a right-hander from Northeast Texas Community College who Lakey described as a "strong, durable kid" with a fastball clocked between 90 and 95 mph, an 85 mph slider and "the makings of a good change(up)."

    2002 First-Year Player Draft
    JUNE 4-5 | NEW YORK CITY
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    FULL COVERAGE:
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    Round 2: RHP Mitchell Talbot, Canyon View (UT) HS
    Lakey: "Talbot's a kid that's a ways away, but he's a kid with a very live arm. He's a very good athlete and very strong kid, and he'll throw in the mid-90s with good life and he's got the makings of a pretty good breaking pitch. He's got a feel for the change. Obviously, in Utah you don't pitch as much as a kid in Texas but we liked what we saw."

    Round 3: RHP Rory Shortell, San Diego State University
    Lakey: He's a big strong kid who was a starter. He's got a live arm, a very durable guy. He's more advanced. That worked out well."

    Round 4: LHP Mark McLemore, Oregon State University
    Lakey: "Both Shortell and McLemore are more advanced, coming from a four-year school. We've got a blend of some experienced guys and some kids we don't have to rush and take our time with."

    Round 5: LHP Patrick Misch, Western Michigan University
    Lakey: "He's a control-type pitcher that works both sides of the plate. Has a feel for the breaking pitch, has good movement on his fastball. But he's not a power guy."

    Lakey revealed that he gets the most satisfaction from rounds 6-15, after the marquee names have been picked through.

    "The high-profile guys, the consensus guys, the guys that everybody knows about, they're all off the board," Lakey said. "Now you're dealing with guys that your people have found and your people really like and not a whole lot of other people know about them. That's still the pure part of scouting. That's the reason why we're all in this.

    "I'm proud that in six years that I've been the scouting director, from (rounds) six to 15, we've drafted some pretty good kids. I think that's a tribute to our area people. They're the ones that did the work, they're the ones that found the kids and they're the ones that stuck their neck out for these kids."

    Round 6: RHP John Duran, St. Marys (TX) University
    Lakey:
    "They converted him and used him as a closer. He's got a power arm, but he's not a big guy (5-foot-10). He'll run up there at 94, 95 (mph) and has a feel for the breaking pitch. Power arm -- it's hard to pass up. He's only 5-10 but hey, we've got some smurfs out there (referring to the Major League club)."

    Round 7: 1B/OF Scott Robinson, Rancho Bernardo (CA) HS
    Lakey:
    "He's got a really good bat. He's a left-handed hitter, but even more interesting is that the kid is ambidextrous. He's a switch-thrower. I've never seen him throw right-handed but that's what people tell me. He's a bat guy, he has a chance to hit. We see him as a first baseman but he can play the outfield."

    Round 8: RHP Billy Westhoff, University of Dallas
    Lakey:
    "Not too many people knew about this kid. He's another power arm guy -- 94, 95 (mph). He's one of these guys where we felt like we had to put him in the position where we knew we could get him. We were happy to get him. A power arm in that area of the draft is pretty good."

    Round 9: SS Andrew Topham, Stanford University
    Lakey:
    "He's played a lot of different positions. He's played second, he's played third. They moved him to short, which is his natural position. His bat is OK, he has the chance to hit a little bit. He's a polished college player that can go out and play. He might be a utility guy as he advances, but he might be able to play short at a higher level. He's a smart kid."

    Round 10: RHP Bradley Chedister, Panola JC
    Lakey:
    "He's a power guy. He had some control problems, he has a way to go."

    Round 11: OF Jason Reuss, University of Nevada
    Lakey:
    "Big strong guy with tools, but he's struggled to put them to use. He's a power guy. He's a two-way guy. If he washes out as a position player we can put him on the mound."

    Round 12: RHP Chance Douglass, Canyon Randall (TX) HS
    Lakey:
    "Power arm kid, has a pretty decent breaking pitch. Aggressive kid. We'll see if we'll be able to sign him. He's a gamble, a high school kid in this portion of the draft, but we felt like it was worth rolling the dice."

    Round 13: OF Nicasio Covarrubias, California State University
    Lakey:
    "He's a senior kid who can swing the bat a little bit, he can run a little bit, he can throw a little bit. He's got some versatility -- he's played third base, first base, outfield. He may start out in the outfield or we may start him at third base. We've got a couple of outfield spots to fill, so we'll just see."

    Round 14: RHP William Boening, Yoakum (TX) HS
    Lakey:
    "Strong kid. Another high school kid -- we thought we'd roll the dice and see what happens."

    Round 15: C Jeffrey Mackor, Boston College
    Lakey:
    "He'll go to one of the (Class) A clubs. He can go out and catch. He's got some arm strength, a little power. We'll see how he does."

    At this point in the draft, Lakey and his troops look for college seniors who don't have any school options left to fill out the clubs at both Rookie League levels. "I'm not going to say that they're not prospects because obviously anyone who signs has a chance to make it, but there's a reason they're in the 20th round or 21st round. They're fill-in guys, but fill-in guys have made it before."

    Round 16: RHP Jared Gothreaux, McNeese State University
    Lakey:
    "We drafted him last year and weren't able to sign him. He went back to school and we talked to him and he wants to go out and play. We're not going to hold grudges. He's got a good arm. He's got a chance."

    Round 17: RHP Daniel Freeman, Texarkana (TX) CC

    Round 18: RHP Brent Long, Brevard College

    Round 19: LHP Aaron Heitzman, Mankato State University

    Round 20: OF Justin Glover, Grant (OR) HS
    Lakey:
    "He's a tools guy. He's a strong kid who can run. Here's a case, where if we don't sign him, he's going to go to JC. He'll be a draft and follow. We'll have the rights to draft and follow up until the week before next year's draft period."

    Rounds 21: IF Ivan Naccarata, Chipola JC

    Round 22: RHP Samuel Fischer, University of Dayton (OH)

    Alyson Footer covers the Astros for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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