The Houston Astros took right-handed pitcher Alex Santos with their first pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. Was this the right pick? Let’s look.
The Houston Astros selected Alex Santos, an 18-year-old, 6-foot-3, right-handed pitcher out of Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx, N.Y. with the 72nd pick of the 2020 MLB Draft. This pick, which was a compensation pick as a result of losing Gerrit Cole in free agency, was the Astros‘ first pick of the draft since they were stripped of their first and second-round picks as part of the punishment for the sign-stealing scandal.
Santos was the 45th ranked prospect by Baseball America and 56th ranked overall player in MLB Pipelines’s rankings. Although his senior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Santos put up stellar numbers during his junior season. In 31 1/3 innings pitches in 2019, Santos posted a 2.45 ERA with 70 strikeouts.
Santos throws from the three-quarter arm slot and according to The Athletic’s Lindsey Adle
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“throws an impressive mix” that includes a four-seam, a two-seam, a changeup, a curveball, and a slider. Santos’ best weapon is currently his fastball, which sits in the mid-90s and averaged 2612 revolutions per minute in 2019, the highest spin rate out of any player in the draft.
Although Santos is currently a project who will take some time to develop, his ceiling is very high. Santos has a lot of raw talent and should develop a nice three-pitch arsenal that should propel him into the Astros starting rotation in a few years if he develops as expected.
With all this being said, picking Santos is a solid way for James Click to begin his role as general manager in Houston. As the Astros need for starting pitching continues to grow aces Justin Verlander and Zach Greinke are only getting older and they lost arguably the most dominant pitcher in the game in Gerrit Cole in free agency.
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Santos is currently committed to play college baseball at Maryland but said he is “leaning towards the Astros” in a Zoom interview with the media following his selection. If Santos does indeed sign with the Astros then Houston is getting excellent value from the 72nd pick.
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