We Are Family: Astros Draft Familiar Names in Late Rounds

Alex Bregman gave his kid brother, A.J., the surprise of his life Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.
Alex Bregman gave his kid brother, A.J., the surprise of his life Wednesday at Minute Maid Park. Photo by Jack Gorman
The Major League Baseball Draft is a laborious, ridiculous behemoth. It's 40 rounds long. Yes, 40. By the time teams get to the later rounds, they are drafting what seems like pretty much anyone. At one time, it was even longer. As one sports radio host pointed out Thursday, Mike Piazza was drafted in the 66th round.

Because even the first few rounds of the MLB Draft are often crap shoots, you can imagine what it is like when you get to round 30 or 35. Often, teams take players for reasons other than baseball and that certainly would appear to be the case for the Astros who used picks in the 33rd, 35th and 37th rounds to add some names to their potential roster that will be very familiar to Astros fans.

In the 33rd round, they selected J.C. Correa, the younger brother of shortstop Carlos Correa. The elder brother was able to inform the younger himself on the phone. Carlos said his brother and family were surprised and happy. "I couldn't believe it when they told me. … I just called him. He told me he was crying when he found out. He's very happy, very excited. Right now he's in Alaska playing in summer tournaments. My dad was crying. The family is very happy and proud of him." J.C. is currently committed to Lamar University in Beaumont next season.

The family affair didn't end there. In round 35, the Astros selected A.J. Bregman, younger brother of third baseman Alex Bregman. This announcement was a bit more dramatic as A.J., a left pitcher who is in Houston working with a pitching coach (he's committed to the University of New Mexico), happened to be at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday when the news came down. His brother revealed the news by saying, "Why don't you check Twitter, bro? You just got drafted in the 35th round by the 'Stros."

The look on A.J.'s face is pretty priceless.

Finally, in round 37, the Astros grabbed another familiar name, this time Antonio Cruz, grandson of Jose Cruz, Sr., a legendary Astros player. It was the second time in consecutive years the Astros have drafted a Cruz, taking Jose's older grandson last year.

None of the three are likely to end up in the majors as none are significant prospects. In fact, there's a good chance they all go to college and end up back in the draft in three years. But, there are good reasons beyond loading up on prospects for the Astros. This certainly engenders trust in players like the elder Bregman and Correa, which could come in handy in a few years when they reach the "dear God, how much do we have to pay them?" stage of their careers.

Until then, it's just a fun story and a good time for some new Astros.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke