Astros sign fourth-round Draft pick Mengden
Friday starter at Texas A&M ranked fifth in SEC in strikeouts, innings pitched
HOUSTON -- When his agent called and told him he had been drafted by his hometown Astros, Daniel Mengden couldn't believe what he had heard.
"I said, 'Astros?'" Mengden said. "You never think you're going to be taken by the hometown team. It's a dream come true."
The right-handed pitcher signed Friday with the Astros, who took him in the fourth round of the First-Year Player Draft out of Texas A&M University. A Houston native, he went 15-17 with a 3.20 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 261 1/3 innings in three seasons with the Aggies. He shared the SEC lead in starts this season (16) as the Aggies' Friday night starter and finished fifth in the conference in both strikeouts (95) and innings pitched (103 2/3).
MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis reported Mengden received a $470,000 signing bonus.
The 21-year-old pitched for Team USA last summer, going 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in six games. Mengden was an AFLAC All-American and a three-time District 20-5A MVP while at Westside High School in Houston. He pitched this year with a stress fracture in his back.
"Daniel is a bulldog starter who can mix four pitches for strikes, including a plus fastball," scouting director Mike Elias said. "He's been a stalwart in three seasons for the Aggies and in a terrific summer for Team USA. He's a great athlete, as his history as a two-way player demonstrates, and is as fierce a competitor as you will find. He joins a talented stable of power arms in our organization and fits exactly what we look for in a starting pitching prospect."
Elias said Mengden will report to Kissimmee, Fla., to rehab a minor stress fracture in his lower back that he's been dealing with. He'll stay in Florida in the fall to play in the instructional league.
"It feels pretty good right now, having some time off," Mengden said. "With the proper rehab, I'll be 100 percent and ready to go."
The Astros have signed 35 of their 41 selections from the Draft. Among those still unsigned are No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken, a prep left-hander from San Diego who arrived in Houston earlier this week to hammer out a deal, and Derek Fisher, a left-handed hitting outfielder from Virginia taken No. 37 overall.
Elias expects Fisher, who just finished playing in the College World Series, to be signed soon.
"We've had discussions," he said. "They're moving very well and we do expect we will have him under contract very soon. Things are going very smooth, and I'm definitely optimistic about that one happening sooner rather than later."
Jacob Nix, the Astros' fifth-round Draft pick this year, who was considered to be a tough signing based on his commitment to UCLA, told MLB.com earlier this month he had agreed to a deal to join the Astros.
Callis reported that Nix agreed to a $1.5 million signing bonus, which is well above the assigned slot value of $370,500 for the 136th overall pick. The Astros have not announced the deal, but Elias said they had agreed on parameters.
"I don't see it going down to the wire, so to speak, but it's not something that I think is imminent," Elias said of Nix's signing.