HOUSTON -- With pitching and speed dominating the Astros' priorities through 11 rounds, the organization finally opted for power, taking East Carolina University junior Chase McDonald in the 12th round (347th overall) of the First-Year Player Draft on Saturday.
"Chase is a quintessential power threat," said Astros director of amateur scouting Mike Elias. "He's so strong and hits for the fences without striking out much."
The first baseman/designated hitter has proven his power prowess across the collegiate and Cape Cod League levels. He's got a powerful swing, with hands that are quick enough to consistently turn on the ball while also staying steady through the zone.
He hit .274 with five home runs and 15 RBIs last summer in the Cape Cod League, and his junior season at ECU was even better. McDonald blasted 11 homers with 46 RBIs and a .299 average in 2013.
"The big thing is his contact," Elias said. "It's always strong off the bat and he makes contact, so there's a rare blend of home run power with the ability to make contact."
Overall, the Greenville, N.C., native has power to both sides of the field and the kind of powerful frame at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds that could make him a scary prospect for many pro pitchers.
Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.