The 2020 MLB season remains in jeopardy, but the uncertainty surrounding a return to play did not hinder the chance to welcome the next generation of baseball players to the major league. On Wednesday, the league kicked off their 2020 MLB Draft with the Detroit Tigers selecting third-baseman, Spencer Torkelson, from Arizona State. The two-day event took place inside the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, NJ — amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Houston Astros made their selections in four out of the five rounds and used the opportunity to upgrade their pitching core, as well as drafting an outfielder and a shortstop.
Rd 2, No. 72) Alex Santos, RHP
Despite forfeiting their first and second-round picks as punishment for their role in the sign-stealing scandal, the Astros lucked up with an additional pick as compensation from the Gerrit Cole signing with the Yankees. With the No. 72 overall pick, the Astros selected right-hand pitcher, Alex Santos, from Mount Saint Michael Academy in New York.
For a prospect who was projected to go No. 45 in this year’s draft, Santos could be a tremendous steal for the Astros in the near future. However, the selection of Santos remains to be an enormous risk for the Astros, as the 18-year-old missed an opportunity to play baseball in his final year of high school.
The New York native is committed to attend the University of Maryland this fall, so it might be some time before Santos makes his arrival in Houston.
Rd 3, No. 101) Ty Brown, RHP
The Astros used their third-round pick to select right-hand pitcher, Ty Brown, out of Vanderbilt University. During his sophomore season in 2019, the 6-foot-4 prospect posted a 2.19 ERA with 9 BB/65 K in 49.1 innings as a reliever for the Commanders.
While posting a 3-1 record, Brown received First-Team All-SEC Relief Pitcher honors after he set Vanderbilt’s single-season saves record with 17 on the year.
Rd 4, No. 131) Zach Daniels, OF
During their fourth-round selection, the Astros turned their attention from the pitcher’s mound to focus on the outfield. With their third pick (No. 131) of the 2020 MLB Draft, the Astros selected outfielder Zach Daniels from the University of Tennessee.
Daniels may be the most significant question mark surrounding just how well Houston came away in this year’s draft despite the limitations. Prior to the suspension of the spring semester, the 6-foot-1 right-hand hitter was on track to have a career season for the Volunteers. Daniels made 56 appearances at the plate and batted .357 on 18 hits, to go along with 13 homers and eight RBIs as a junior during the 2020 season.
Rd 5, No. 160) Shay Whitcomb, SS
During their last pick of the 2020 draft, the Astros selected Shay Whitcomb from the University of San Diego — making him the third-highest drafted player in school history.
The right-hand batter made 81 plate appearances in 2020 hitting .333 on 27 hits and 13 BBs. In a 6-0 win over San Francisco State, Whitcomb posted a career-best three home runs for the night.
(Photo Credit: University of Tennessee Athletics )
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