Springer “beyond happy right now” to join Astros

University of Connecticut outfielder George Springer, taken by the Astros with the No. 11 overall pick in the first round of Monday’s First-Year Player Draft, told MLB.com shortly after his team beat Clemson to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals that he was living a dream.

“I really don’t have any words I can put how happy I was at the time [he was drafted],”  he said. “It’s something as a player and as a kid you always dream of. My friend, Matt Barnes, told me in the fifth inning, and I was blown away.”

A 21-year-old junior, Springer was hitting .350 with 12 homers and 76 RBIs though 63 games for the Huskies. He had a .628 slugging percentage with 35 walks, 38 strikeouts and 31 stolen bases in 38 games.

Springer started in center field for the Huskies in Monday’s regional championship game in Clemson, S.C., and went 1-for-3 with two runs scored before being removed from the game as a precaution because of cramps. UConn won, 14-1.

“It’s just more of a severe cramp,” he said. “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.”

Springer said he and his advisors have had quite a bit of contact with the Astros.

“My advisors had been going back and forth with them since this process started, and it became a reality today,” Springer said.

When asked about his willingness to sign a contract with the Astros, Springer didn’t hesitate.

“100 percent,” he said. “I’m good to go.”

The Astros plan to keep Springer in center field, but scouting director Bobby Heck said he could possibly profile as a corner outfielder down the road because of his power.

“I would not have a problem playing right, center or left field,” Springer said. “I really don’t have a preference, but I would hope to stay in center field.”

Because his college team was still alive in the NCAAs, Springer didn’t get a chance to come to Houston last week’s pre-Draft workout at Minute Maid Park. In fact, he’s never been Houston.

“We actually played this year at Whataburger Field [in Corpus Christi] and that’s about as close to Houston as I’ve been in my lifetime,” he said. “I know that’s where Houston’s Double-A team is, the Hooks. I have not had the pleasure to go to Houston, but hopefully in the next few months or so I’ll have the pleasure of going down to Houston.”

Springer said getting drafted in the first round and then advancing to the NCAA Super Regional is a matter of hours is a dream come true.

“I don’t have any words I can describe it,” he said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling, especially topped off by a huge win in the last three games for our team and program. I’m beyond happy right now.”


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