05/30/12 10:31 PM ET
Astros hold final pre-Draft workout
By Clark Goble / MLB.com
The organization wouldn't disclose the names of most of the prospects present, but Bobby Heck, the Astros' assistant general manager and director of scouting, said none of the players the Astros are considering for the No. 1 overall pick in Monday's First-Year Player Draft were even invited to Wednesday's workout.
"To put them in this kind of environment, and even risk injury to a degree, wasn't fair to them," Heck said.
Instead, the Astros wanted to get one more look at players they might take in the Draft's later rounds. Heck told the players before the workout that this was a chance to make a last impression before the Draft kicks off on Monday.
"This is like an icing on the cake thing," Heck said.
Heck estimated that there were about 20 players from Texas and 20 players from other states at the workout, some coming from the Northeast.
There may not be much scouting left to do, but Heck said there's still a lot of work left before Monday.
"There's a tremendous amount of work to do at this point, because finally the 10 decision-makers are all going to get in a room tomorrow, and we're going to start banging heads," Heck said. "There's a lot of us that like different players in the top pick and the top-five picks. It's a wide group. We'll have a lot of discussions the next four or five days and hopefully come to a conclusion."
Heck said the organization is still discussing five players for the first pick. He also said the decision-making process would be a lot easier if one guy stuck out as the obvious selection.
"I guess the positive is we have options, we have a choice," Heck said. "The fact that we walk into this weekend and into Monday, we still have five guys that we're strongly considering. I think the strength is now that we have a choice."
The players who did work out on Wednesday went through a variety of drills, ranging from infield and batting practice to simulated game situations. Former Astros second baseman Craig Biggio helped out with many of the drills.
The Astros made two local high school players, Nick Williams from Galveston, Texas, and Austin Dean from Spring, Texas, available to the media.
Williams, an outfielder from Galveston Ball High School, said he had always wanted to hit in Minute Maid Park after hitting in some other Major League ballparks. He signed with Texas A&M on Tuesday, but said he hasn't been worrying about any decisions that the Draft might force him to make.
"It's going to be a big decision. It's going to be a hard decision," Williams said. "Everybody wants to go pro, and I'd like to go pro, but [if] I have to go to A&M, so be it."
Dean, a first/third baseman from Klein Collins High School and a lifelong Astros fan, said he was humbled to even be invited to the workout.
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"You have a Hall of Famer out here hitting us B.P. and whatever, and we got to talk to him for a little bit. It's pretty awesome," Dean said of meeting Biggio.
Dean signed with the University of Texas in Austin and knows that he'll have a big decision to make soon as well. On Wednesday, he said he wasn't nervous, but rather just focused on baseball.
"I never thought the Astros would be looking at me right now, so it's very exciting," Dean said. "Can't really wait until the Draft day comes up to see what happens."
If drafted, Williams and Dean will have until 4 p.m. on July 13 to decide to stick with their college commitments or sign with the team that selects them.
Coverage of the opening round and Compensation Round A will be aired by MLB Network and streamed live on MLB.com on Monday at 7 p.m. ET. Rounds 2-40 will also be streamed live on MLB.com on June 5-6.
Clark Goble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.