Houston Astros steal Korey Lee in the first round of 2019 MLB Draft

Houston Astros select catcher Korey Lee in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Houston Astros select catcher Korey Lee in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros have selected catcher Korey Lee in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft. This pick could be a potential steal. Why so? Let’s look.

Houston Astros fans — it’s early June and you already know what time it is.  It’s time for the MLB First-Year Player Amateur Draft and although most of us don’t see the draft as exciting as it was in the years this team stunk up the joint goes to show how high this team has risen in the ranks of public opinion.

At this moment, the Houston Astros are enjoying a renaissance where it’s apparent that this team is going to be contending for a title for quite some time.  It certainly feels great for me to write that statement because this team is truly fun to watch, despite the challenges that they’ve faced with injuries early.

But the team continues their ascent above the rest; and, at the time of this writing, they have an 8.5-game lead over the Arlington Rangers in the AL West.  They are also one of just three teams that have already eclipsed the 40-win mark, with the others being the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Minnesota Twins.

The Houston Astros were 40-16 at this point last season so it definitely means they’re right on track in terms of strong a finish to the 2019 season barring any significant setbacks.

But enough of how this team is currently doing, let’s talk about a bit of the future as the Houston Astros have selected a catcher in the first round of the draft.

They decided on Korey Lee, a Cal product, as the depth of the catching position is starting to wear thin.  With Max Stassi as well as most recently Garrett Stubbs called up into action, there are no other catchers among their Top 30 prospects as per MLB Pipeline.  So you know what?  It’s time to groom a catcher in the farm so that he’ll reach that Top 30 within the shake of a lamb’s tail.

Lee, who was ranked 119th among 2019 college prospects by MLB Pipeline, was selected a lot higher than most experts had him, certainly alluding to many doubting their decision to do so.  Let’s take a look at some rapid reactions via Twittersphere.

J.J. Cooper, Executive Editor of Baseball America:

Kendall Rogers, Co-Managing Editor of D1Baseball.com:

If that’s the case, the Houston Astros could certainly have themselves a steal within the ranks.  He can also play first base as well as shortstop so his versatility will be an asset to the team that he starts out with, which will likely be the Tri-City Valley Cats, the Houston Astros Class A short-season affiliate.

Here’s what Johnny Armstrong of Astros Future.com had to say about Lee:

"“Korey Lee, in his first full season as a starter, was a productive hitting catcher, a rarity in baseball. As a junior, Korey Lee hit .339/.415/.613 with 13 HR, 52 RBI, 12 2B, 23 BB, 41 K in 186 ABs. He did all this hitting behind one of college’s most dangerous hitters in Andrew Vaughn, who was drafted #3 overall.  Still just 20 years old, Lee has a 60-70 graded arm behind the dish, a bonafide cannon, and looks like a solid catcher all around. Heading into pro ball Lee is still raw and developing, but possesses the tools to be one of the better catchers in the minor leagues when he gets the proper coaching.”"

Lee didn’t even start in his first two seasons at Cal but it was this past season, his junior year, that caught the eagle-like eye of the Houston Astros scouting staff.

I’m glad that the team has addressed the catching position and the next one they need to go for is for a left-handed pitcher.

I had liked Ethan Lee as a possible target at No. 32 because of his reliable fastball that sits as high

More from House of Houston

as the low 90s as well as his solid curveball, to which that pitch is pretty much a prerequisite if one wants to pitch for the Houston Astros.  However, the Milwaukee Brewers took him at No. 28 so that scratches that idea.

But all in all, the Houston Astros addressed a vastly dire need in the future as they have not invested significantly in a catcher since they drafted Jason Castro in the first round back in 2009.  I think that man turned out to be just fine, even if his career had to continue elsewhere with the Minnesota Twins, who are no pushover themselves.

So what’s next? The Houston Astros did select shortstop Grae Kessinger out of Ole Miss with the 68th pick in the second round.  I’ll talk more about him later on.

The Houston Astros have two picks in Day 2 of the draft — Round 3 (106th) and Round 4 (136th) so let’s try to hold back our excitement on who the team will select next!

Next. Astros: Three thoughts on the team's unique situation. dark

The draft recommences tomorrow at noon CDT and will be live-streamed via MLB.com if you’d like to watch the broadcast.

Way to go Astros!