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Astros set sights on signing drafted players

Astros set sights on signing drafted players

HOUSTON -- The Astros wrapped up the 2010 First-Year Player Draft by selecting 20 more players Wednesday, all of which general manager Ed Wade hopes to get signed and playing in the organization before too long.

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Houston drafted 13 high school players and seven college players Wednesday and went heavy on pitching. The Astros took nine right-handers, three left-handers, five infielders, two outfielders and one catcher on the Draft's final day, and now it's up to assistant general manager of scouting Bobby Heck and his scouts to get them signed for Ricky Bennett, the assistant GM who oversees player development.

"Some of it is filling rosters, but every one of the kids that came off the board had tools or attributes that made sense for us to get into the organization," Wade said. "We'll take a shot at getting them all [signed], if we can. In the latter stages of the Draft, Bobby and Ricky spent a lot of time talking with regard to compositions of [Minor League] rosters and things of that nature."

Wade said scouts were already in the homes of players trying to get deals done. The Astros on Wednesday signed their 16th-round pick, catcher Chris Wallace of the University of Houston, and Heck expects more deals to get done soon. The Astros have until Aug. 16 to work out contracts.

"I think the bulk of the signings will be at a fast pace," Heck said.

Among the more intriguing picks by the Astros on the final day were right-hander William Chrismon of Menchville High School in Virginia in the 32nd round, Plano West (Texas) High School slugger Ryan Ford, who has committed to the University of Texas, in the 38th round, and DeMarcus Henderson, an athletic shortstop from Wayne County (Miss.) High School, in the 43rd round.

"A lot of it, especially at the end, was high school kids we wanted to follow for the summer that weren't ready to go out," Heck said. "It's a shortened draft-and-follow process of only a few months instead of until the next Draft.

"There was that flavor, and also another flavor was the high school kid whose demands weren't to our value, and hopefully, it moves in one direction or the other to add talent this summer. Then we filled in some roster spots for Ricky's guys and added a lot of guys who were quality guys and guys our scouts had interest in."

Wallace, who hit .291 with 10 homers and 38 RBIs in his senior season at Houston, and his family were at Union Station with scout Rusty Pendegrass to sign his contract. Wallace said he will leave for a minicamp in Florida on Saturday.

"His mom told me his dream was to go to the University of Houston and get drafted by the Astros," Wade said. "So far, he's filled two dreams."

In their 52 picks, the Astros chose 19 right-handed pitchers, seven left-handed pitchers, 13 infielders, eight outfielders and five catchers. Twenty-seven players were selected out of college and 25 out of high school.

Houston tabbed high school players with its first-round picks, taking second baseman Delino DeShields Jr. from Georgia at No. 8 and right-hander Mike Foltynewicz of Illinois at No. 19. The Astros picked University of Minnesota's Mike Kvasnicka as a third baseman with the 33rd pick.

"The quality of the work our scouts have done has been outstanding," Heck said. "The culmination of their hard work over the last 360 days evaluating players has been very rewarding."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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