Astros come to terms with first pick Sapp

Astros come to terms with first pick Sapp

CHICAGO -- Just as the Houston Astros were completing a sweep over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, the front office was putting the finishing touches on a deal with the club's first-round draft pick, catcher Max Sapp.

The Astros agreed to terms with Sapp, and in record time. Sapp, the 23rd overall selection, was picked by the Astros just nine days earlier during the June 6 First-Year Player Draft.

Sapp said at the time that he did not foresee any issues that would slow the negotiating process, and judging by Thursday's announcement, he was right.

"We felt like where we had him slotted was fairly placed and he did, too," general manager Tim Purpura said. "He's a pretty down-to-earth kid, and he wants to play, and that's the thing that became very evident when we sat and met with him and talked to him about what his interests were."

Sapp will be at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday to take a physical, tour the facility and take a little batting practice. Several of the other 23 signees will also be in Houston on Tuesday.

A 6-foot-2, 220-pound high school senior from Windermere, Fla., Sapp batted .591 with nine home runs and 48 RBIs to help Bishop Moore High School to a 29-2 record this past season and a third consecutive trip to the Florida state championships.

He was recently named the Orlando Sentinel's Central Florida Baseball Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, and he was chosen as the 4A District Player of the Year in Florida. Sapp was tabbed the 2006 Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Baseball, and was named to both Baseball America's and Louisville Slugger's preseason high school All-American teams heading into the 2006 season.

The Astros agreed to terms with a total of 17 players Thursday, including five among the club's top 10 picks: Sapp (first round), OF Nick Moresi (3), RHP Casey Hudspeth (5), RHP Bud Norris (6), LHP David Qualben (7), LHP Tom Vessella (11), RHP Bryan Hallberg (12), LHP Chris Salamida (13), OF Drew Holder (16), RHP Justin Stiver (17), OF Orlando Rosales (19), LHP Antony Bello (21), RHP Chad Wagler (22), IF Tim Torres (23), IF Cirilo Cruz (27), IF Brandon Caipen (28) and RHP Kyle DeYoung (31).

Moresi, the club's 99th overall pick from Fresno State, was named to the All-WAC Tournament Team and helped the Bulldogs to the NCAA Regionals, where he garnered a spot on the All-Region Team. Hudspeth (fifth round), led the University of South Florida and ranked second in the Big East Conference with 106 strikeouts. Cruz is the nephew of Astros first base coach Jose Cruz, and the son of former Major Leaguer Tommy Cruz.

Immediately after the draft, the Astros also signed OF James Van Ostrand (8), LHP Kevin Fox (15), RHP Justin Stiver (17), RHP Colt Adams (18), IF Eric Taylor (30) and RHP Adam Hale (32).

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.