HOUSTON -- In a matter of seconds, Cal State Fullerton right-hander Thomas Eshelman was drafted by the Astros with the No. 46 overall pick in the Draft and then locked down the save to send the Titans back to the College World Series.
Eshelman, 21, was the fourth and final player selected by the Astros on the first day of the Draft, but he was the first pitcher they selected. He has gone 8-5 with a save and a 1.58 ERA (23 ER/131 2/3 IP) in 18 games (17 starts) for Cal State Fullerton this season. He recorded 131 strikeouts and issued only seven walks.
"One of the most polished college players in the country this year," Astros scouting director Mike Elias said. "You've all seen his statistics, they're unbelievable. One of the best command pitchers in college baseball in the last decade. Rarely walks anyone; he's a workhorse, big, 6-3, up to 93 [mph]. Incredible deception, gets a lot of swings and misses on his fastball, which we like. He's a winner. Could be a quick-moving arm for us."
The Astros took LSU shortstop Alex Bregman with the No. 2 pick, Tampa, Fla., high school outfielder Kyle Tucker with the No. 5 overall pick and Daz Cameron of Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Ga., with the No. 37 overall pick, giving them three of MLB.com's top seven players in the pre-Draft rankings.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at noon.
"I'm really excited about our haul," Elias said. "I just think it's four great players. We had the picks, we got the players we wanted at those picks. It's a good blend of talent, and our guys did a great job identifying these guys and working hard on them all year. These were targets for us going into the day."
Elias said Eshelman sits at about 90 mph, but can touch 93, and his fastball plays up.
"That's something that we look at a lot," he said. "It's a deceptive fastball, it has a hopping effect, so to speak, to the hitters, and he gets a lot of swings and misses with it. He doesn't throw 96, but that doesn't mean he's not a hard thrower."