Houston continued its trend of stockpiling talent in the later rounds on Day 2 of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. The Astros balanced their selections, taking 12 pitchers, nine infielders, five outfielders and one catcher on Day 2.
"We accomplished what we set out to do," said Astros general manager in charge of scouting Bobby Heck. "We went out to get a depth of talent, and looking at our board and what we selected [Wednesday] and [Tuesday], we feel good about that."
Among their 27 picks on Day 2, the Astros selected right-handed pitcher Brandt Walker of Stanford in the eighth round (No. 251 overall). But it's not the first time that Walker has had his name called out at Draft time.
Walker, a Texas native, was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 21st round (628th overall) of the 2006 Draft. Instead of signing with the Rangers out of St. Stephen's Episcopal High School in Austin, Texas, he chose to honor his commitment to Stanford.
In playing for the Cardinal for three years he climbed up 13 rounds in the Draft. Walker was rated as the 87th-best high school prospect by Baseball America prior to his senior season at St. Stephen's, and when he was first drafted in 2006, he featured a fastball in the low 90's. Now 21 years old, Walker has matured into a tall, lanky pitcher with a fastball that tops out at 95-96.
"[Walker's] physical maturity is much different and so is his stuff," said Heck, who scouted Walker when he was in high school. "He's gotten into his man strength in his three years at Stanford. He's not a fully polished guy, but we'll have to get him innings and a commitment to his development."
The former battery mate of the Astros' first-round pick last year, catcher Jason Castro, Walker has pitched in 27 games (four starts) over his three seasons at Stanford, going 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA (26 earned runs, 37 1/3 innings pitched). In 2009, Walker struck out 12 batters over 19 innings pitched.
Walker was one of six of the Astros' first eight picks that attended last week's workout at Minute Maid Park and was one of the nine right-handers taken by Houston on the second day of the Draft. Houston used it's seventh-round pick (221 overall) on left-hander Dallas Keuchel of Arkansas.
Keuchel is scheduled to start Arkansas' opening game against Cal St. Fullerton at the College World Series. He has been the Razorbacks' ace this season, going 7-3 record with a 4.04 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 98 innings.
"This has been an amazing experience," Keuchel said. "Houston is a good organization and I am happy to be with them. It is close to home so that is a bonus. Being drafted is great, but I came to Arkansas for a reason and that was to go to Omaha, so my focus is on that now."
The Draft will conclude on Thursday with the 31st through 50th rounds, beginning at 10:30 a.m. CT.
Here is a rundown of the Astros' round-by-round Day 2 selections:
Round 4 -- BJ Hyatt, RHP, University of South Carolina Sumter: Hyatt struck out 31 batters in 32 1/3 innings this season. He originally signed with South Carolina in 2007 before shifting his commitment to USC Sumter. He was scouted by J.D. Alleva.
Astros -- Top five selections
|21||SS||Jiovanni Mier||Bonita HS
|69||RHP||Tanner Bushue||South Central HS
|100||LF||Telvin Nash||Griffin HS
|111||3B||Jonathan Meyer||Simi Valley HS
|131||RHP||BJ Hyatt||U South Carolina Sumter
|Complete Astros Draft results >|
Round 5 -- Brandon Wikoff, SS, University of Illinois: Wikoff is a solid switch-hitting infielder with some power and above-average speed. He hit .373 with four home runs his junior year at Illinois and was named to the All-Ping! Baseball second team.
Round 6 -- Enrique Hernandez, SS, American Military Academy (Puerto Rico): Hernandez was a 2009 Puerto Rico High School Baseball All-Star.
Round 7 -- Dallas Keuchel, LHP, University of Arkansas: His fastball sits in the low 90s and is complemented with a changeup and breaking pitch. He was 7-2 in 16 starts with a 4.04 ERA for Arkansas this past season.
Round 8 -- Brandt Walker, RHP, Stanford University
Round 9 -- Ben Orloff, SS, University of California-Irvine: Orloff was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 19th Round (587th overall) of last year's Draft. He has good speed and is rated as very good contact hitter.
Round 10 -- Erik Castro, 3B, San Diego State University: Castro is a switch-hitting third baseman.
Round 11 -- David Williams, C, Crowder College (Mo.): Williams was a two time All-State pick in baseball and football at Bule Springs High School. As a freshman at Crowder last year, he was First Team All Region and voted the Region 16 Player of the Year.
Round 12 -- Geoffrey Thomas, RHP, Stephenson High School (Ga.): Thomas was 3-2 with .051 ERA in 27 2/3 innings pitched in 2009, with 48 strikeouts.
Round 13 -- Jake Goebbert, OF, Northwestern University (Ill.): Goebber had his junior season cut short due to injury. He hit .280 with 10 doubles, four home runs and 23 RBIs in 30 games for Northwestern in 2009. He was a Second Team All Big Ten selection in 2008.
Round 14 -- David Berner, LHP, San Jose State University (Calif.): Berner led the WAC as a senior this past season in ERA (3.20), opposing batting average (.240) and strikeouts (84).
Round 15 -- Ryan Humphrey, CF, St. Louis Community College Meramec (Mo.): Humphrey hit .278 with six doubles and 21 RBIs in 2009.
Round 16 -- Ronald Sanchez, 1B, Manuela Toro High School (Puerto Rico)
Round 17 -- Justin Harper, RHP, Oklahoma City University: Harper is a power pitcher, who went 2-1 with 6.00 ERA as a sophomore and ranked as the top junior college prospect in Arizona by Baseball America.
Round 18 -- James MacDonald, RHP, Boston College: MacDonald was 5-7 with 4.86 ERA in 15 starts for Boston College in his senior season.
Round 19 -- Brian Kemp, CF, St. Johns University (N.Y.): Kemp hit .379 with 13 doubles and 35 RBIs in 52 games for St. Johns this season. He led the team with 16 steals on 21 attempts.
Round 20 -- Julio Martinez, RF, Nova Southeast University (Fla.): Martinez set a single-season record for runs scored in 2009 with 73 and hit .428 with 15 home runs.
Round 21 -- Barry Butera, 2B, Boston College: Butera hit .326 with four home runs in 57 games with Boston College this season.
Round 22 -- Mark Jones, RHP, Manheim Township High School (Pa.)
Round 23 -- Robert Donovan, RHP, Stetson University (Fla.): Donovan compiled a 5-3 record with a 5.19 ERA in 13 starts in 2009, leading the team in strikeouts (68) and innings pitched (76 1/3).
Round 24 -- Mike Modica, LHP, George Mason (N.J.): Modica earned Second Team All-American status, the highest honor ever afforded a George Mason pitcher. He was 11-2 with 75 strikeouts in 87 innings this season.
Round 25 -- Nicholas Stanley, 1B, Florida Southern College: Stanley transferred from North Carolina State and went on to hit .344 with 11 home runs and a team-high 59 RBIs for FSC.
Round 26 -- Mattew Watson, 1B, Pompano Beach High School (Fla.)
Round 27 -- Aaron Bray, 3B, University of North Carolina-Charlotte: Bray is UNC-Charlotte's all-time career hits leader and one of two players in the program's history with over 200 hits and 200 runs scored.
Round 28 -- Eric Anderson, RHP, Mountain Vista High School (Colo.): Anderson won nine games and compiled a 1.67 ERA in his senior season at Mountain Vista.
Round 29 -- Garen Wright, CF, Putnam City High School (Okla.): Wright was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in six appearances on the mound his senior year.
Round 30 -- Brandon Petite, RHP, Vauxhall High School (Canada): Petite was a participant of the 2009 Baseball Canada Cup as a member of Team Nova Scotia.