Shortstop depth in Draft may be hard for Astros to pass up at No. 2

Shortstop depth in Draft may be hard for Astros to pass up at No. 2

The 2015 Draft will take place from Monday, June 8, through Wednesday, June 10, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 75 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, with exclusive coverage of Day 3 beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 200 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of over 1,700 Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Astros, whose first selection is the second overall pick.

In about 50 words
The Astros, after failing to sign No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken last year, are sitting strong at the top of the Draft with the second pick (compensation for not signing Aiken) and the No. 5 overall pick. It's unprecedented for a team to have two of the top five picks.

The scoop
The Astros contend they're going to take the best available player at No. 2 and No. 5, and the depth of quality shortstops in this year's Draft could make hit hard for them to pass up a shortstop within the first five picks.

MLB.com's Draft experts project the Astros will take Lake Mary (Fla.) high school shortstop Brendan Rodgers with the second pick and Santa Barbara right-handed pitcher Dillon Tate with the No. 5 pick. If Tate's off the board, they're high on Florida high school outfielder Kyle Tucker, who's the brother of Astros outfielder Preston Tucker.

First-round buzz
With two of the first five picks, the Astros should be able to grab a couple of players who could have cornerstone potential for the club. In other words, it could be a very impactful Draft on a system that's already brimming with talent.

The Astros, although they took a high school pitcher with the first pick last year, went heavy on college talent throughout last year's Draft. Because their Minor League system is deeper, they may be able to afford to take more high school talent with upside and allow them more time to develop.

Money matters
The Astros have a whopping $17,289,200 to spend, which is the most of any team in the Draft, giving them unprecedented flexibility if they choose to use it. That includes $7,420,100 for the second pick and $5,026,500 for the fifth pick.

Having so much money could allow the Astros to get creative about how they divvy it up between their picks, a strategy they pulled off well in 2012 when they took Carlos Correa with the No. 1 pick and gave him less money so they could sign high school pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. and high school third baseman Rio Ruiz away from college commitments with more money than their allotted slots.

Shopping list
The Astros are still searching for catching depth in their organization, though Jacob Nottingham (Class A Quad Cities) is rising up the charts. Still, don't be surprised to see them add a couple of catchers they feel have a chance to move steadily through the system.

Like most teams, they could use more pitching throughout the system. They feel pretty good about the middle infielders in the upper part of their system, including Correa, Tony Kemp and Nolan Fontana, but talent on the middle infield drops off in the lower levels of the organization.

Trend watch
The Astros always say they'll go with the best player available regardless of age and position, but they went older last year, with 37 out of 41 players coming from the collegiate ranks. Last year, the Astros selected 15 right-handed pitchers, five left-handed pitchers, 11 infielders, six outfielders and four catchers. In total, they selected 20 pitchers and 21 position players.

RECENT DRAFT HISTORY

Rising fast
This is the first time since 2011 the Astros won't have the No. 1 overall pick. Correa, the top pick in 2012, has been terrific and debuted at Triple-A last month. He should be in the big leagues this season, but 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel is scuffling at Double-A, and, of course, they failed to sign last year's No. 1 overall pick (Aiken).

Outfielder Derek Fisher, the Astros' second pick in last year's Draft, recently joined their third and fourth picks, first baseman A.J. Reed and third baseman J.D. Davis, at Class A Lancaster, where Reed and Davis have been putting up big numbers, and all three could find themselves in Double-A by season's end, putting them in position to help in Houston next year.

Cinderella story
Designated hitter Tyler White, drafted in the 33rd round out of Western Carolina in 2013, is already at Double-A Corpus Christi, where he was hitting .301 with a .455 on-base percentage, three homers and 17 RBIs through 30 games. Another 33rd-round pick (2012), right-hander Mike Hauschild, is 3-1 with a 3.58 ERA in eight games (six starts) at Double-A.

In the show
Only six of the 25 players on the Major League roster as of May 30 were drafted by the Astros, including former first-round picks Jason Castro (2008) and George Springer (2011). Tucker (seventh round, 2012) became the first Draft pick in the Jeff Luhnow era to reach the Majors when he debuted in May, and he was followed closely by McCullers (compensation pick, 2012). Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, one of the top starters in the AL, was taken in the seventh round in 2009 out of Arkansas. Reliever Jake Buchanan was taken in the eighth round in 2010.

The Astros' recent top picks
2014 -- Brady Aiken, LHP, UNSIGNED
2013 -- Mark Appel, RHP, Double-A Corpus Christi
2012 -- Carlos Correa, SS, Triple-A Fresno
2011 -- George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
2010 -- Delino DeShields Jr., OF, Texas Rangers

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.