HOUSTON -- The Astros are sending a contingent to meet with North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon, who's considered the leading candidate to be taken No. 1 overall by the club in next year's First-Year Player Draft.
Astros director of scouting Mike Elias wouldn't confirm when a meeting with Rodon would take place, but it's believed the team was going to send a handful of scouts to meet with Rodon as early as this week.
"We're going to meet with several guys," Elias said. "We have a few meetings lined up this month, and he's on the list."
The Astros will have the top pick in the Draft for the third year in a row and already are beginning their due diligence. Unlike the previous two Drafts -- when they took Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa first in 2012 and Stanford right-hander Mark Appel this year -- Rodon is a consensus favorite to be taken No. 1.
Of course, Rodon still has his junior season at NC State ahead, and signability and injury factors could weigh into the decision, which means the Astros have to be prepared by scouting several other players.
The Astros met with about six players before deciding on Appel in June.
"Every year we're picking at the top of the Draft, we have made it a point to meet the candidates in some way, shape or form prior to the Draft," Elias said. "That includes scouts responsible for scouting the players, members of the front office and me.
"We try to get to know the kids personally so we have some relationship and feel for his personality and relationship history going into the process. We're doing that with several players this winter, particularly college ones over the winter time. Typically, as the high school field emerges through the spring, we may or may not meet with some of those kids as well."