ARLINGTON -- The Astros have officially secured the No. 1 pick in next year's First-Year Player Draft, making them the first team to have the top pick three years in a row. The club has been operating for months as if it would pick in the top three.
Astros scouting director Mike Elias said nothing much changes for the club from a scouting standpoint now that it is picking No. 1.
"We've been approaching the fall season as if we're picking in the top three," Elias said. "We're on the lookout for any players who could be the top first, third or even fifth picks in the country."
Most experts have North Carolina State left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodon as the likely No. 1 pick, and he's definitely on the Astros' radar. Houston took Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa with the No. 1 pick in 2012 and Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the first pick this year.
"Being the third year in a row doing it, we have experience, and our approach is we try to ID the top players in each category -- college hitters, high school hitters, college pitchers, high school pitchers," Elias said. "We get the depth stacked up within each of those categories. Last year, we had Appel, [Sean] Manaea, but Jonathan Gray emerged later on.
"We do feel there's some more depth again on the college pitching side. Rodon started for Team USA and we're very aware of that. Even if you have the No. 1 pick, the team that picks second or third keeps scouting all the players because you know what could happen with injuries."