Houston Astros top prospect Carlos Correa is rarely on MiLB.tv, but the Quad City Bandits were visiting the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers early this week, so I had a chance to watch some of our young guns in action.
You'll have to forgive the quality of these gifs. I am pretty sure the Timber Rattlers still record their games with a VHS camcorder and pipe it into a streaming device through a VCR or something. I say this because as you're watching a Timber Rattlers game, an "auto-tracking" slider pops up at the bottom of the screen occasionally to adjust the picture.
When Correa was drafted he was drafted at shortstop with the possibility of moving to 3rd later on in his career. Carlos is still only 18 and has a long way to go in the development of his game and body.
I'm no Kevin Goldstein, but when I watch a shortstop play, I look at their range, arm, smoothness (do they move athletically or not), and quickness (especially in their hands for the double play). We'll get to see all three in these gifs.
In this clip, we get to see Carlos show off the arm. The gif doesn't quite do it as much justice as watching it live, but Carlos' ball seems to almost gain velocity coming across the diamond towards first base. His arm from shortstop is easily plus.
Another throw here was made at an awkward body position showing how smooth Correa is coming across his body to make a throw. He still is able to get some nice zip on this ball.
My favorite gif of the three is watching Correa show off his range to his left. Carlos moves very well. It's just an incredible play that Carlos makes with great smoothness. He makes this play seem rather general.
This last clip is from MiLB.tv. Carlos shows off some quick hands here in starting up the 6-4-3 double play.
Final thoughts on Correa's defensive ability
The kid can play shortstop. If his body type changes as he ages and he loses his range there, I see no reason why he couldn't be a very plus defender at third. Size should not be an issue as long as he remains athletic. Troy Tulowitzki and Jhonny Peralta both play a good defensive shortstop at 215 pounds each. *Ed. note: Plus, one Cal Ripken, Jr. did fairly well at shortstop at 210 lbs.
I know this comp has been beat to death, but it's easy to see why he gets compared to Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod was listed at 6-foot-3, 190 lbs. when he was drafted in 1994. Carlos' is listed at 6-4, 190 on his MiLB profile. A-Rod is currently listed at 225 on his MLB profile. We know A-Rod had some, ahem, "help" in gaining his muscle mass, but we can assume that Carlos could easily weigh 220 by the time he's completely filled out.
Here's a couple of clips of Carlos' hitting, just because.