The first day of the MLB draft passed without incident for Houston colleges, but the picks came early and often on day two for the Rice Owls and Houston Cougars.
For those of you who want to get to know the local kids before they reach the big show, here are the nine players, with the current/past MLB player that they most resemble:
Rick Hague (Rice), 83rd overall pick, Washington Nationals: Derek Jeter. Tall and athletic, a slick fielder (which actually kinda ruins the Jeter comparison, come to think of it), can hit for average, hit for power, and steal the occasional base. To keep the comparison alive, when an even better shortstop came along (Anthony Rendon, next year's likely #1 overall pick, playing the part of Alex Rodriguez), the better player was moved to third base to accommodate the incumbent.
Blake Kelso (UH), 296th overall pick, Washington Nationals: David Eckstein. The diminutive shortstop can handle a bat and is a better fielder than you might think. He probably gets moved to second base in the pros, especially since he got drafted the same year as Hague.
Michael Goodnight (UH), 390th overall, Cleveland Indians: CC Sabathia. Big guys with stuff that can be overpowering, but who need work on their control Sabathia was wild when he came up, but has certainly improved in that department. Let's hope Goodnight can do the same.
Diego Seastrunk (Rice), 420th overall pick, Cleveland Indians: Mike Piazza. Both possess unquestionable hitting skills, were moved from third base to catcher late in the game, and face very legitimate questions about their defensive skills behind the plate.
Chris Wallace (UH), 483rd overall pick, Houston Astros: Brian McCann. Good hitter with solid, but not overwhelming, power. Not going to kill you defensively but not going to win a Gold Glove, either.
Jimmy Comerota (Rice), 541st overall pick, Arizona Diamondbacks: Mark Grace. First basemen who don't possess prototypical size or power, but you could do a lot worse than having one of them as your starter. Both will play good defense, hit for a good average and show plate discipline.
Chad Mozingo (Rice), 596th overall pick, Washington Nationals: Michael Bourn. Like with Seastrunk, I'm breaking the unwritten rule that you only ever compare players to other players of their own race, but that's a dumb rule anyway. Both are smallish, left-handed hitting outfielders with plus speed and plate discipline. Bourn is a better fielder, however.
Mike Ojala (Rice), 767th overall pick, Florida Marlins: Ryan Dempster (circa 2008-10). Kind of blends into the woodwork because he isn't overwhelmingly dominant in any one area. "Good, not great" would be the operative phrase. It describes his size, velocity and control. But at the end of the day, you don't mind having him on your team.
Ty Stuckey (Houston), 787th overall pick, Cincinnati Reds: Ray King. (Very) large-framed lefties who walk too many hitters, but who seem to pitch better than their stuff and control says they should.
Keep in mind that Hague, Kelso, Goodnight, Mozingo, and Stuckey all have remaining college eligibility and could return to school. I can't help but wonder if the uncertain future of UH baseball (the Coogs are without a coach currently, after firing head man Rayner Noble) will cause any drafted Coogs to lean towards signing, however.