2003 Draft - Day 1 recap

added 6/4/2003 by Ray Kerby

First things first: I am not an expert on prospects. However, like many fans, I find the Summer Draft to be one of the most interesting events of the baseball season. I make no attempt to try and predict which players will be chosen, because that is almost always folly. I am also not going to pretend to know something about players that I have never seen play. This season, the Astros forfeited their first-round pick to the San Francisco Giants as compensation for the signing of Jeff Kent. I can live with that.

The team's first pick did not come until the 59th selection in the draft, meaning that there was little chance to pick up a "can't miss" phenom. However, Jason Hirsh fell further than they expected, and they were very happy to take him at #59. Even their second pick, Drew Stubbs in Round 3, was a player they might have considered taking with their first pick. So, overall, the first day of the draft turned out better than the team probably expected.

You can follow the team's selections on Day 2 from the Astros Draft Day Tracker. The second day of picks is always less interesting to me because most of those players are long shots or "sleepers" that are valued only by the Astros.

Day 1 had 20 rounds, meaning that the Astros made 19 picks. I've detailed each one below, hunted down links that I found interesting and also added a few comments after each. Hopefully you'll learn something new about each of the players we've drafted. Comments in blue text were culled from the MLB.com and Sportsline.com website. They are there to provide an expert opinion, where applicable. Don't hesitate to email me at ray@astrosdaily.com with any comments or criticisms.

This players selected:

2. RHP Jason Hirsh California Lutheran Univ R/R 6'8" 250 Feb 20, 1982
Links: CLU may lose Hirsh to the major leagues
Hirsh sets CLU mark with 18 Ks
California Lutheran 2003 Baseball Stats
Jason Hirsh listed on all-SCIAC Team
I think the Astros caught a real break with Hirsh being available with the 59th pick near the end of Round 2. Baseball America had speculated that the Yankees might consider taking Hirsh in the first round, so that gives you an idea of the potential of that kid. Hirsh is a giant of a pitcher at 6'8" and 250 lbs. He throws about 94 mph, but supposedly has hit 97 on the radar gun. His 18-strikeout performance this season set a college record, but you have to wonder why a big pitcher like this would fall all of the way to #59. He's 21, so the Astros will find out pretty soon whether he has what it takes to be a successful major league pitcher.

3. CF Drew Stubbs Atlanta (TX) HS R/R 6'5" 190 Oct 4, 1984
MLB: Exciting athlete with abundance of talent. Potential ML outfielder with normal development & physical maturity.
Baseball America: Drew Stubbs, who has been compared to a young Dale Murphy for his size and all-around athleticism, went to the Astros in the third round. He is considered a tough sign, potentially commanding sandwich-round money to avoid his University of Texas scholarship
Links: Eyes on the crown (w/ picture)
A local kid from Atlanta, Texas, Drew Stubbs is a multi-sport star that has already signed a Letter of Intent with the University of Texas. However, don't be surprised if the Astros make an offer sweet enough to change his mind. A centerfielder with a lot of speed, Stubbs also excelled in football (running back) and track (triple jump and hurdles).

4. CF Josh Anderson Eastern Kentucky Univ. L/R 6'2" 195 Aug 10, 1982
MLB: Sturdy, athletic build. Built like Darrin Erstad. Quiet, short stroke. Uses all fields. Outfield instincts for future plus defense.
Links: EKU Profile
EKU's Josh Anderson Drafted in Fourth Round
EKU's Josh Anderson Named OVC Player of the Year
Anderson Named Collegiate Baseball All-American First Team
EKU's Anderson and Sellers Re-Write Record Books
Ohio Valley Conference Final Stats
Josh set a ton of records at Eastern Kentucky and was named Player of the Year for the Ohio Valley Conference. In addition to his Conference-leading .447 batting average, Anderson swiped 57 bases. The only cautionary note is that, despite being a free-swinger who made a lot of contact, he showed very little power.

5. LHP Josh Muecke Loyola Marymount Univ. L/L 6'3" 195 Jan 9, 1982
MLB: Tall. Mark Langston type body. Good motion on tailing sinking change. Average fastball. Around plate with all pitches. Lower arm slot may help fastball movement.
Links: LMU Personal Profile
Links: Loyola Marymount Final Stats
Josh Muecke looks like a "tools" pick for the team because, statistically, he does not look that impressive. Even though he struck out about a batter an inning, he also allowed as many hits and about six walks per 9 innings. A 3-3 record and a 4.38 ERA usually does not draw a lot of attention, and his ERA was over 6.00 in the previous season. This guy must have great stuff.

6. RHP Cliff Davis Eupora HS. R/R 6'5" 205 Dec 31, 1984
MLB: Tall, lanky, live athletic body. Excellent pitcher's build. Body similar to Bob Welch. Live, quick arm, works right. Curveball is potential out pitch with wicked, 3/4 plane, freezes right-handed hitters. Lots of upside. Outstanding football quarterback, signed with University of Alabama. Loves to compete. Gamer, comfortable in his surroundings.
Links: Davis named to All-State Baseball Team
QB Davis leads Eupora to 2A Final
Quarterback Davis commits to ASU
Alabama signee Davis wants to play college baseball
Cliff Davis is a dominating football QB who has already committed to play at the University of Alabama. He was also a stud pitcher who can throw in the 90's... in high school. Maybe the Astros can sign him; maybe they can't. The Alabama folks are impressed by this kid who also seems to want to be a two-sport star in college. It looks like Davis is a low-probability signing for the team.

7. CF Jeff Jorgensen Rice Univ. R/R 5'11" 185 Feb 1, 1981
MLB: Well-proportioned, athletic build. Upright, slight open stance. Attended Rice University on track scholarship. Outstanding runner, makes things happen. Compact, line-drive stroke with quickness and strength in hands. Potential big-time base stealing threat. Aggressive mentality. Excellent athlete with raw baseball tools. Fun to watch. Can change game with speed. Potential everyday, leadoff type hitter with further development.
Baseball America: Houston's sixth-round pick, Rice outfielder Jeff Jorgensen, may be the fastest player in the draft. He can get from the right side of the plate to first base in 3.85 seconds and is a threat to beat out most grounders. Jorgensen went to the national 60-meter semifinals in high school and ran track for his first two years at Rice. He's very raw, and his development was slowed when he had to leave his summer team last year after he was bitten by a brown recluse spider. He's more signable than most Rice juniors because he already has graduated with a triple major.
Links: Jorgensen named to 2003 All-WAC Baseball Team
Jeff Jorgensen is a speed demon from Rice University who can also play some baseball. Jorgensen is definitely a development project, according to the team, and the one thing you can't teach is 'speed'. He's already 21, so he'll have to be a late bloomer to reach the majors.

8. RHP Mike Collar Univ. of Maine R/R 6'3" 215 Oct 16, 1981
Links: Univ. of Maine Profile
Maine's Collar shines
Univ of Maine Season Stats
Mike Collar’s seventh consecutive complete game ties UMaine record
UMaine's Collar earns Freshman All-American honors
How Mike Collar fell this far down the draft behind rawer talents like Muecke is kind of a mystery. He finished 2003 with an 8-3 record with 98 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 83 innings. He's right-handed and there's a ton of good righthanders in this draft.

9. 3B Brock Koman Univ. of Michigan R/R 6'0" 198 Oct 11, 1980
Links: UMichigan Personal Profile
Big Ten 2003 Statistics
Koman: "We just hope to go down and play hard"
Freshman Koman hopes to break out of slump (from 2000 season)
Brock Koman hit for a high average, but with few homers, walks or strikeouts. In other words, a free-swinger without a lot of power. Those is not a promising batting line for a 3B, especially one who is already 22. Maybe he'll be another Ken Caminti, who hit .350 in college with doubles power and then bloomed late into a major-league All-Star. No drug jokes, please.

10. RF Beau Hearod Univ. of Alabama R/R 5'10" 195 Apr 3, 1981
MLB: Medium, solid, compact build. Similar to Brian Giles. Ball jumps off bat. Occasional long bal power. Enough arm for RF. Strong kid for size.
Links: RollTide.com Personal Profile
Links: Alabama Season Stats
Hearod named SEC Player of the Week
Hearod homers in win at Minute Maid Park
Another third baseman, although Hearod hit for high average (.348) *and* power (20 homers). In addition, he has also already hit his first homer in the Astros home field, so he's got a big head start on everyone else. Maybe Gerry Hunsicker was at that game and said, "man, I gotta sign this guy!"

11. RHP Nick Green Darton College R/R 6'4" 188 Aug 20, 1984
Links: Darton College Profile
Pair of local players go in draft
Nick Green was a Freshman at Darton Junior College, so this is almost like a high school pick. He struck out 69 batters in 69 innings, earning him a spot on Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Baseball Team. With a 3-6 record at a JC, this 18-year-old talent seems like a lock to sign and jump into a professional organization with a good reputation for developing pitchers.

12. SS Wade Robinson Louisiana Tech Univ. L/R 6'0" 170 Jan 12, 1981
Links: Louisana Tech Profile
Louisiana Tech Season stats
Robinson Selected in the 12th Round of Baseball Draft
Wade Robinson is a SS has no power at the plate, but he has a defensive reputation and a cannon for an arm. Looking at his error rate (19 errors), you have to wonder if his arm is so live that perhaps the team might try converting him to a pitcher.

13. RHP Jimmy Barthmaier Roswell HS R/R 6'4" 200 Jan 6, 1984
MLB: Body similar to Kris Benson. Big, naturally strong. Very easy delivery and quick arm. Fastball with occasional side run, some sink. Slider potential future strikeout pitch.
CBS Sportsline: Athletic right-hander with a big, strong build ... Throws fastball in low-to-mid 90s. Could add velocity with age ... Also possesses a nice slider in the low 80s ... Great mechanics ... Also a highly-touted quarterback prospect that has been recruited by several SEC schools. Waiting to see how the draft goes before committing to anything ... Indecisiveness may hinder his draft status.
Links: Profile
Barthmaier awaits draft, keeps his options open
Jimmy Barthmaier is one of the highest-rated high school quarterbacks in Georgia. He seems much more likely to play football than baseball, which is why he dropped so low in the draft.

14. RF Mike Dunn Cimarron-Memorial HS L/L 6'1" 185 May 23, 1985
MLB: Large, athletic frame. Excellent strength potential. Very athletic outfielder. Long, easy strides. Glides to ball. Hard contact. Mature, athletic HS outfielder with potential to hit at ML level. Also LHP.
Links: 13 local players sign on dotted line for CCSN
Mike Dunn has already signed to play with a local Junior College (CCSN), so he might end up being a "draft and follow" pick for the Astros. He's a lefty, so the Astros aren't going to let him get away that easily!

15. RHP Bo Edmiston Mississippi College R/R 6'6" 221 Aug 1, 1981
MLB: Large frame. Flexible body. Loose arm. Good delivery and mechanics. Enough stuff and velocity. Fastball runs and sinks. Slider is slurve type with proper rotation. Throws BP fastball for changeup.
Links: Mississippi College Season Stats
Edmiston finished his senior year at Mississippi College with a 6-3 record and a 2.15 ERA. His 52 strikeouts in 67 innings aren't exactly jaw-dropping, but they're not bad, either.

16. RHP Jamie Merchant Univ. of Vermont R/R 6'4" 275 Mar 19, 1981
Links: University of Vermont Profile
Links: University of Vermont Season Stats
Merchant racked up 81 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 75 innings. At 6'4" and 275 lbs, he's not just big, he's really big. But he can obviously pitch. He was the America East Pitcher of the Year for 2003, and his record has improved with each season in college.

17. C Pat O'Brien Kent State Univ. R/R 6'0" 190 Jan 17, 1981
Links: Kent State Profile
Kent State Team Statistics
O'Brien named Player of the Week
Pat O'Brien hit .272 with 13 homers for Kent State. He didn't strike out or walk very much, but that seems to be a common theme among college hitters. Anytime you draft a position player out of college, there's always a little trepidation when he has to adjust to using wooden bats.

18. 1B Kevin Vital Southern Univ. L/R 6'0" 235 Feb 9, 1980
Links: Southern Univ. Season Statistics
Vital: "we have to be aggressive"
You have to wonder where a first baseman who hits 14 homers as a senior in college is going to fit into your organization. I know I wonder.

19. 2B Edwin Maysonet Delta State Univ. R/R 6'6" 180 Oct 17, 1981
Links: Delta State Baseball Bios
Delta State Season Stats
Maysonet named Player of the Week for 3/26/02
Edwin Maysonet looks like an interesting pick. He's a middle infielder with doubles power (25) and speed (23 steals). If he can field his position well, then he would be an interesting player to watch in the minors.

20. 2B Brian Skaug California Lutheran Univ. R/R 6'1" 190 Apr 13, 1981
Links: California Lutheran 2003 Baseball Stats
Skaug attended the same school as the team's first pick, pitcher Jason Hirsh. Skaugh hit for power (14 doubles, 11 homers) and showed some speed on the basepaths (20 steals). There is so much dependent on the quality of their opposition that you just have to cross your fingers and hope that they can develop and show the same skills as they progress through the minors.

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