Astros excited to add arms from college ranks

Astros excited to add arms from college ranks

HOUSTON -- The second day of the MLB Draft saw the Astros stockpile college arms, which director of scouting and player development Mike Elias said wasn't a surprise considering this year's Draft featured a deep college pitching class.

After taking two college pitchers in the first two rounds on Monday, the Astros selected four more college arms among their eight picks in Rounds 3-10 on Tuesday.

"We got guys that we liked and we liked them for the right reasons," Elias said. "Hopefully things will shake out well as they get their career started and get into pro ball. We feel very good about the players we got. It was definitely good to get some college arms."

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 11 a.m. CT.

Tuesday consisted of selections from Rounds 3-10. Here is a pick-by-pick look at the Astros' Day 2 Draft selections:

Round 3: RHP Tyler Ivey, Grayson College (Texas)
Ivey, who began his career at Texas A&M, pitched in 12 games last season for Grayson and was 9-0 with a 2.08 ERA. He struck out 122 batters in 78 innings. In his freshman season at Texas A&M, he appeared in 11 games and had 48 strikeouts and a 3.56 ERA.

"It was a business decision," he said of his decision to leave A&M. "I felt like it was better for my Draft status if I left A&M. When I say that, I loved it at A&M. It was one of the best years of my life. I have nothing bad to say about any of the coaches. I loved them all. I felt it was a business decision for me and it worked out."

Ivey has four pitches: a two-seam fastball, a changeup, a curve and a slider. Elias said they've seen his fastball reach 96 mph, but his best pitch is his slider. Ivey said he didn't think he would get drafted until the fourth or fifth round.

"They called me and said, 'Will you sign if we take you in the third round?' I said, 'Absolutely, yessir I will,'" Ivey said.

Astros draft RHP Ivey No. 91

Round 4: RHP Peter Solomon, Notre Dame
Solomon appeared in 21 games, mostly in relief, for the Irish last season and had 61 strikeouts and 28 walks in 54 innings, but it was his performance last summer in the Cape Cod League that caught the attention of the scouts. He posted a 0.55 ERA and a .086 batting average against in the wood-bat league last summer.

"I would say pitching in the Cape was a great experience for me, and I was surrounded by great teammates, so I just kind of elevated my game," Solomon said. "I look forward to pitching against wood bats again and make baseball my life and focus on being the best player I can help the Astros win a championship."

Solomon, a two-year teammate at Notre Dame of Cavan Biggio (son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio), features a four-seam fastball, an up-and-down curveball, a harder slider and a changeup. He sets hitters up by dominating with his fastball and then uses his breaking stuff.

"He was a really good value pick in the fourth round," Elias said. "He's got plus stuff. I think the command is the part of it that's probably going to continue to develop, but to get that kind of stuff in the fourth round was good for us, and our scouts really believe in him."

2017 Draft: Peter Solomon, RHP

Round 5: C Nathan Perry, Bassett (Va.) High School
With the 151st overall pick, the Astros grabbed the 6-foot-2 Perry, a left-handed-hitting catcher. Perry, 17, hit .462 (24-for-52) in 19 games for Bassett High School with 17 walks and only two strikeouts. He's committed to Virginia Tech.

Elias called Perry an "off-the-grid" player and said area scout Tim Bittner was able to see him play quite a bit because he also lives in Virginia.

"There were some teams on him, so we didn't want to wait too long in the Draft, but if you see some video of him, I'd compare him in a way profile wise to Brian McCann," Elias said. "He's kind of a big, left-handed catcher with a really nice swing for a high school kid and some power, and our guys think he could stick behind the dish."

Round 6: 1B Jake Adams, University of Iowa
The Astros nabbed one of the most intriguing bats in the Draft when they took Adams in the sixth round (181st overall). The unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year, he led the NCAA with 29 home runs, shattering the previous team record of 22 homers

Adams, a semifinalist for USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award, started all 61 games for the Hawkeyes at first base and led the Big Ten Conference in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage, runs (55), and total bases, while also ranking second in hits (82), sixth in batting average, 12th in on-base percentage (.417), and 14th in doubles (14).

Round 7: LHP Parker Mushinski, Texas Tech
A left-handed reliever, Mushinski threw 37 2/3 innings this year for the Red Raiders, striking out 47 batters and walking 25. He made one relief appearance at Minute Maid Park during the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic.

"I'm excited for the competition," said Mushinski, who has a fastball (92-93 mph), cutter, curveball and is tinkering with a changeup. "I like to be real aggressive when I pitch. I've been out of the bullpen in college and so that's kind of how I learned to pitch that way. I like to attack hitters and see where I am."

Round 8: OF Corey Julks, University of Houston
The Astros stayed local with their first outfielder of the Draft, taking a local product in Julks, who played at Clear Brook High School (about 30 minutes south of Houston). He hit .335 with nine homers, 45 RBIs, 15 steals and a .426 on-base percentage for the Cougars this year.

"We think he's intriguing bat," Elias said. "We've seen him do some things defensively in center field, though he didn't play there consistently. We think he's got a chance to play a little bit of center field because he can run. Just a really impressive offensive resume at UH and [area scout] Noel Gonzales-Luna was a big fan. We wanted to take him early to make sure we got him."

The athletic Julks began his college career as an infielder, but was moved to the outfield because the Cougars needed his bat in the lineup. Houston coach Todd Whitting calls him "Mr. Postseason" because he loves to step up in big moments.

"I was at a loss for words," Julks said when the his hometown Astros called his name. "I'm definitely excited. It's every kid's dream, and I finally got my shot and I'm excited and ready to go out there and get started."

Round 9: C Michael Papierski, Louisiana State University
Papierski, from Lemont, Ill., is batting .260 this season with six doubles, eight homers and 34 RBIs for LSU, which is bound for the College World Series, beginning on Saturday. At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Papierski has thrown out 22 baserunners attempting to steal this season.

He had previously been selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 16th round of the 2014 Draft.

Round 10: RHP Kyle Serrano, University of Tennessee
Serrano, the son of former Tennessee, Fullerton State and UC Irvine coach Dave Serrano, returned last spring from having Tommy John surgery. He pitched only 9 2/3 innings, striking out 21 batters, before leaving the program in April for personal reasons.

Serrano resigned as Tennessee's head coach last month, not long after Kyle left the team. Kyle was ranked as the No. 43 best Major League prospect coming out of Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tenn., and was taken by the Rockies in the 29th round in 2013, but he attended Tennessee.

"He's a huge talent," Elias said. "He throws really hard. His strikeout numbers, even this year, are incredible. … It's huge stuff. He had some twists and turns career-wise with an injury. He had Tommy John surgery. This is his first year back from that. He got back pretty quickly. We'll see what happens."

Elias said Serrano has an arrangement to pitch in the Cape Cod League this summer.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for M/LB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.