The Astros navigated the new Draft rules to near perfection last year, signing No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa for less than the allotted slot value, which enabled them to later take a couple of players they believe were first-round level talents and pay them more than value.

Whether the Astros try to employ a similar tactic this year remains to be seen, but the team knows the importance that comes with the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft -- a selection they have for the second straight year.

"How well we do in this Draft as a whole is very important to the organization," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "It's hard to put much weight on any one particular pick, because we all know the failure rate of players is very high and you don't want to hang everything on one player. How we do in terms of bringing in talent and developing talent, that's the most important thing we can do."

The 2013 First-Year Player Draft will take place Thursday through Saturday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday at 5 p.m. CT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 6 p.m., with the top 73 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 11:30 a.m., and Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 12 p.m.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

University of Oklahoma right-hander Jonathan Gray is among a handful of players the Astros are considering with the first pick, including Stanford pitcher Mark Appel and college hitters Kris Bryant (San Diego) and Colin Moran (North Carolina). High schoolers Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows have been on their radar as well.

"We want the guy as an organization we believe is going to create the most Major League value," Luhnow said. "It's as simple as that. It's easy to say that, but hard to define what that means. There's a lot of factors that go into it. Certainly, what they've done in the past is a big part of it, and the scouts are experts and they get paid to evaluate players and predict the future.

"Predicting the future is a risky business, but they're pretty good at it and they're a lot better than most of us would believe. We have to listen to our scouts and trust their opinions. There's a lot of factors that go into it, but at the end of the day, you feel good about your decision, but you're never 100 percent sure."