Last week, the Houston Astros made history in the worst way by being the first team to not sign the No. 1 overall pick since 1983. It may go down as a historic blunder. The ramifications of not signing Brady Aiken are far-reaching for the organization and a number of its 2014 draftees.
A building plan going to waste
A plan predicated on getting young talent through the draft in high positions that’s not necessarily college talent (those who are generally closer to MLB-ready) depends on timing. Look no further than the Marlins of 1997 and 2003. Two World Series runs were made entirely built on a strategy of using talent that came together at the right time. After winning the championship, they started over due to small-market restrictions.
The Astros already somewhat into their long-term plan, as a chunk of the talent drafted and acquired via trade — Jon Singleton, Jarred Cosart, L.J. Hoes, Domingo Santana and Dallas Keuchel — is already at the major league level. Failing to sign three players, including two of early round potential (one a No. 1 overall) works against the talent-compiling objective.
This year might not be the only aspect of this failure, though. If this year’s performance is any indicator, it appears the Astros might also have whiffed on Mark Appel from last year. His numbers skyrocketed in a bad way this year, as he sits at A+ Lancaster with a 10.80 ERA. The 2013 first round selection has faced a number of injuries, and speculation leads some to say he may have been poorly picked.