Elias hits the ground running for the Astros

Mike Elias, named by the Astros as their new director of scouting on Saturday, was at San Diego’s Petco Park on Sunday to watch some of the top high school players compete in the Perfect Game All-American Classic.

Elias, 29, will oversee amateur scouting and the Draft. He joined the Astros in January as a special assistant to the general manager/scouting. Prior to joining Houston, Elias had been in the Cardinals organization since 2007 where he served as a scout before being promoted to manager of amateur scouting.

“It’s an exciting time, and it’s certainly an exciting challenge going forward, sort of continuing the progress we’ve got going,” Elias said. “There’s a lot of positive signs and we’re sort of hoping to add to that and continue to make progress via the Draft. It’s been a busy couple of days here and it’s been hectic. You hear from a lot of friends and people throughout the industry. It’s a big challenge, but I’m ready.”

The Astros had the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft and will likely have it again for the second year in a row in 2013. Elias understands the importance of being able to take advantage of every Draft, especially when you’re rebuilding.

“When you pick as high as we did [this] year and it looks like we’ll be doing it again next year, the stakes are even higher,” he said. “Fortunately, we’ve been preparing for this. Our scouts and our department have done a great job preparing for next year’s Draft. We spent the whole summer scouring college summer leagues, high school showcases and basically getting our ducks in a row for the next spring time when the gun goes off and you have four or five months to line up the Draft board.”

Elias said next year’s Draft will have pockets of talent, with lots of good high school pitching, especially left-handers, and some good college arms and catching depth.

“It’s probably comparable in talent overall as [this] year’s Draft,” Elias said.

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