MLB Draft 2014: Nick Tanielu selected by Houston Astros

Nick Tanielu - WSU Athletic Communications

The all-Pac-12 selection batted .340 as a junior.

Washington State third baseman Nick Tanielu was selected by the Houston Astros in the 14th round of the MLB 2014 First-Year Player Draft today, No. 406 overall.

For two years, Tanielu has been the Cougars' best pure hitter, batting .364 over the past two seasons with 28 doubles. He was hitting over .400 with an on-base percentage of an even .500 with a .627 slugging percentage after 32 games as a sophomore before an injury cut his season short. His junior season was slightly less productive, but still impressive: .340/.395/.442.

The reason such a productive hitter wasn't selected higher likely has to do with the two things. First, at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, Tanielu doesn't project to add a lot of power, which is usually required of a corner infielder. Second, while his fielding was vastly improved this year at the hot corner - he made fewer errors in 20 more games this season than in his shortened sophomore season - he's not a defensive wizard.

What's interesting is that the Astros announced Tanielu as a second baseman, which does make some sense: If he can field well enough there, the bat could play in the middle infield. He still need to cut down on the strikeouts a bit for a guy who doesn't hit for a lot of power.

As for signability, it's believed that Tanielu is ready to start his professional career.

EDIT: Tanielu sounds like he is leaning toward signing, but is noncommittal.

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