Astros stay local with A&M pitcher at 56th

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HOUSTON — The Astros used two of their first three picks in the 2017 MLB Draft on college right-handed pitchers, taking Texas A&M’s Corbin Martin — a Houston-area product — with the No. 56 overall pick in the second round. They took University of North Carolina right-hander J.B. Bukauskas with the No. 15 overall pick in the first round.

Martin went 7-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 23 games (12 starts) this year while helping the Aggies reach the College World Series for the second year in a row. In 86 innings, he’s allowed 84 hits and 37 walks and struck out 94 batters.

Astros’ 15th overall pick: J.B. Bukauskas
Astros’ 53rd overall: Joe Perez
Astros’ 75th overall: J.J. Matijevic

“Martin was one of Texas A&M’s best pitchers this year,” Astros director of scouting and player development Mike Elias said. “They moved him from the bullpen to the starting rotation later in the season. His stuff held up. We believe he’s got pitches that project very well on the Major League level.”

Elias said Martin has two breaking balls and a changeup to go along with his upper 90s fastball that usually sits between 92-94 mph.

“We’re going to develop him as a starter,” Elias said. “He’s got the arsenal to do so, and he’s got the body and durability to do so. And that’s how we view him.”

The Draft continues Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The preview show begins at 11:30 a.m. CT, with exclusive coverage beginning at noon CT.

The Astros had four selections Monday. In addition to Martin and Bukauskas, they took Florida high school third baseman Joe Perez with the No. 53 overall pick in the second round and Arizona second baseman J.J. Matijevic with the No. 75 overall pick in the competitive balance round B. Both Martin and Matijevic came from picks the Astros gained from the Cardinals in the wake of the hacking scandal.

Martin, 21, made two appearances out of the bullpen in the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at Minute Maid Park. He attended Cy-Ranch High School in Cypress, just northwest of Houston.

“We had lots of contacts and information we were able to use in that program and in that area, and it helps us develop a little more comfort, for sure,” Elias said.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for M/ since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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