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A look at the development of the Houston Astros 2012 MLB drafts first overall pick, Carlos Correa.
It's June 4, 2012, and those of us on the TCB podcast are hoping that the Astros take Carlos Correa, but we're speculating that the Astros are going to take Mark Appel. We were wrong but I don't think any of us were disappointed by that. Fast forward five months and I don't think anything has changed in our feelings towards Correa being the Astros first pick.
One of the positive things to come out of Major League Baseball's new Collective Bargaining Agreement was the new signing deadline. Moving the signing deadline for draftees from August 15th to July 15th meant we got to see fresh new prospects earlier. Correa was one of the first 2012 draftees to sign with the Astros, whether that was because of the new CBA or his character doesn't really matter because it's a win-win situation for those interested in the resurrected Astros Minor League system.
Cranking It Up
Correa born September 22, 1994, played 50 games in the Astros Minor League system this year. His .258/.305/.400 batting line in 204 plate appearances isn't anything spectacular, but let's put that into context. What were you doing at 17? While good numbers would be nice, it's unrealistic with a prospect so young.
Correa's first stop was the Gulf Coast League a rookie level for the Astros farm system located in Kissimmee, Florida, the same place where the Astros prepare for the season during Spring Training. Correa played in 39 games and batted .232/.270/.355 in 163 plate appearances. Those numbers include two homeruns, one triple and 11 doubles out of 36 hits total. He also stole five bases while being caught only once. He walked 3.4% of the time and struck out 22.1% of the time. On the defensive side he collected 11 errors in 173 chances, but errors mean little to nothing at this level.
Carlos Correa was promoted to the Greeneville Astros around mid-August. He played in 11 games at shortstop and hit .371/.450/.600 in 41 plate appearances. I don't have to tell regular readers on this site that's a small sample size but screw the sample size that's more like it. In his short time with Greeneville Correa hit one homerun, one triple and three doubles out of 13 hits total. He stole only one base. His 12.2% walk rate and 19.5% strikeout rate were big improvements over his Gulf Coast numbers. His defensive numbers improved as well, receiving only one error in 43 chances. He also did this with Adrian Houser on the mound (1:45) and me in attendance:
I was lucky enough to be at the game when Carlos Correa hit his homerun at Greeneville. The ball was hit to about left-centerfield. If you looked at the video the ball landed to the right of the light pole and left of the flag pole. It's 331 feet down the lines so it was a pretty good shot. I thought it was funny how, considering the status of Correa, one person slowly walked down the hill to pick up the homerun ball. Had that landed with TCB readers in attendance someone would have probably lost an eye, or a finger, trying to retrieve the ball.
Physically, Correa towered over just about everyone and he's only 17. He still has room to fill out and that's a little exciting considering what he's already flashing at the plate and in the field. If he adds to much size though he'll likely end up moving to third base, but the bat should still play well there.
In terms of ability he looked good at the plate, good running the bases and good playing the field. Nothing really stuck out as a negative and I don't have anything unique to add in terms of all positive things already said in his scouting report. I can only echo what's already been mentioned in those reports. He looks good...Real good.
Where To Next?
This may be one of the tougher things to predict, because Correa is so young. I thought he handled Greeneville well, but I wouldn't be surprised nor upset if he were to repeat there. The thing is I just can't see the Astros being conservative and not challenging Correa by putting him in full season ball to start the season. By all accounts he's got a good head on his shoulder so I don't think mentally his development would be hindered if he were to struggle at Quad Cities (the Astros new A affiliate).
There is one prospect we could compare him to and that's Delino DeShields Jr. who also made his debut at the age of 17, and was promoted to Lexington the year after he was drafted. That was under the old CBA meaning when the signing date was August 15 instead of July 15 and DeShields signed very close to the August 15 deadline. Correa on the other hand signed very early, almost right after the draft, meaning he's ahead of where DeShields was in the year he was drafted. Taking all that into consideration I think it's safe to say that the Astros would rather have Correa playing in full season ball rather than keeping him in extended Spring Training, waiting for short season baseball to start. Which is good for the Astros new A affiliate Quad Cities.
Astros fans should be pleased with the steps Carlos Correa has made in his development as a player. His overall numbers aren't great, but he handled Greeneville well in his limited time there. I expect Correa to start next year in A-ball and even if he does struggle in Quad Cities Astros fans shouldn't be discouraged. DeShields struggled in his first year in Lexington and then this year showed us what he's capable. There's a lot of questions yet to be answered in regards to Correa's, but Astros fans can take comfort that the Astros made the right selection with the first overall pick in the draft.