The Major League baseball draft is our time to vacate the present and imagine the future. And by future, we generally mean distant future.
That’s because the baseball draft is not like the NBA or NFL drafts, where top players are expected to make an immediate impact.
No, baseball requires more seasoning than that. An 18- to 22-year-old– even one that signs a multi-million-dollar bonus – usually spends at least some time in the minor leagues. The last three No. 1 picks are still in the minors.
A good example is the Houston Astros Carlos Correa. He was drafted and signed into the Astros system in 2012 and did not actually make it to Houston until 2015.
So with that in mind, lets take a look at five top players from the Texas Rangers draft and Houston Astros draft this week.
Texas Rangers Draft
Texas needed third basemen throughout their farm system and demonstrated that on Day 1 of the draft by picking two for the hot corner.
The Rangers used the eighth overall pick to take Texas Tech third baseman Josh Jung. He has helped his Red Raiders team to the super regionals of the NCAA Tournament, hitting a .340 average this season.
He cracked 11 home runs, 53 RBIs, and had a .608 slugging percentage. Jung played at MacArthur High School in San Antonio, and his first two seasons with Tech were as impressive as 2019.
Jung shared 2019 Big 12 Player of the Year honors with the guy who turned out to be the Rangers second pick, Davis Wendzel, a Baylor third baseman. Wendzel was the 41st overall pick.
He hit .367 with eight homers, 42 RBIs and had a .610 slugging percentage for the Bears.
The Rangers went to the mound for their third choice, right-hander Ryan Garcia from UCLA. The 2019 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, Garcia appeared in 12 games with 10 starts and posted a 10-0 record. In 84 1/3 innings, Garcia carried a 1.39 ERA, striking out 107 batters.
Houston Astros Draft
The Astros, with their performance last season, naturally had to choose players from lower in the order. But they came up with a couple who show promise.
The 32nd overall pick and the Astros first was another Pac 12 player, catcher Korey Lee of the California Golden Bears. Though Lee was ranked much lower by most experts, everyone seems to love this kid’s arm. Plus he improved his batting average to .338 this year.
The thinking is that Lee can fit well into the Astros farm system catching situation.
Shortstop Grae Kessinger, who led his Ole Miss team to the super regionals, was the Astros second pick, 68th overall. Described as a steady defender, Kessinger batted .332 this year as an All-SEC first teamer.
Where They’ll Go
Most of these players will take the normal route of starting in a rookie league or some level of Single A this summer and go from there. Some will move more swiftly to AA than others. If they do, it is a good sign they’ll be in the Majors sooner than not.
These are the players that make tickets to minor league games worthwhile. If you get a chance to buy tickets to minor league games, you’ll find that it is the best bargain in pro sports.