Astros held their breath for 10 picks and exhaled when they finally nabbed their guy.
One of the more compelling parts about the Draft is how and when teams celebrate their first-round picks.
It would seem logical that the front office would applaud and shake hands after it has made its own pick. But in many cases – such as the Astros this year — the celebrating begins before they’ve made their pick — when the team before them announces its selection.
As soon as San Diego picked its player — and it was not University of Connecticut outfielder George Springer — the room erupted. Assistant general manager and Scouting Director Bobby Heck knew he had his man, and the only thing left was waiting to hear the announcement by Commissioner Bud Selig that the Astros officially had selected Springer as the 11th overall pick in the 2011 Draft. (Watch the exclusive, behind-the-scenes video from the Draft Room here).
Normally, the first order of business is for Heck to call the draftee and congratulate him. But Springer was playing in the regionals at the time of his selection, so that fantastic photo/video opp was tabled. The next few minutes then became a little dicey — by the time Heck and general manager Ed Wade addressed the media and had resumed their seats in the Draft Room, they received word that Springer had left the UConn-Clemson game early with an apparent injury.
A couple of hours later, they were reassured that the early exit was precautionary — Springer felt a little tightness in his hamstring, and with UConn winning by a landslide, his coach erred on the side of caution and removed him from the game.
“It’s just more of a severe cramp,” he told McTaggart. “I was extremely dehydrated from [Sunday] night and it just carried over and that point in the game it was 9-1. We’re obviously playing on Friday and I want to be 100 percent. It was the right thing to do.”
Some bare facts on Springer:
* He is hitting .350 with 12 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 76 RBIs over 63 games this season. He’s the everyday center fielder and the three-hole hitter for the Huskies.
* He was named 2011 Big East Player of the Year and was a unanimous selection for the 2011 All-Big East First Team. He currently leads the conference in RBIs and ranks fifth in hitting.
* He’s 6-foot-3 and 200 lbs.
* He throws and bats right-handed.
* He is from New Britain, CT.
The Astros had only one pick on the first day. The Draft resumes on Tuesday with Rounds 2-30. In the meantime, enjoy the images from Round One: