As Spring Training kicks into high gear with position players reporting, we are officially in the 2013 season. For better or worse, last season is over and optimism is in the air. There are plenty of naysayers out there saying that there really is no reason to be optimistic about the Astros. While they are not entirely wrong, they are not exactly right either. But, it is time to look forward. Maybe it is the 2 feet of snow that was dumped on me last weekend (I follow the Astros from Long Island, New York), but I am ready for baseball and full of optimism.
From now on, it is and should be all about the future. 2012 is over, 2013 is the present, but the future is really the focus. The majority of the decisions being made now by the Astros are about 2014 and beyond. The future is looking bright. However, that is not to say that 2013 should be ignored as it is an exciting time to be an Astros fan as we are essentially seeing an organization built up from the foundation. It is almost like being a fan of an expansion team. Just an expansion team with an illustrious 50 year history.
A great recent cause for optimism was the release of MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list which has been covered in this space. 2012 has already been dissected in detail on this website and we have discussed the other three prospects to make the list in detail (Jonathan Singleton, George Springer, and Jarred Cosart). Now as we take a look at the fourth prospect to make that list, it is the perfect time to truly start looking forward and to ignore the negative sentiments associated with our team.
Carlos Correa might be the most well known Astros prospect. Correa, who was ranked 30th on MLB.com’s Top 100 prospect list might also be the furthest from the major leagues. For all of the tools and potential that Correa has, it is important to remember that he is still only 18 years old. So there is absolutely nothing wrong with the fact that he is still a few years away from Houston.
Of course at this point there is no question that he will be worth the wait. Correa clearly is talented, because if he was not, he would not have been the first overall pick. But taking Correa was about more than just taking the best player.
Based on the new bonus slotting system, the Astros had a finite amount of money to spend when signing all of their draft picks. So by taking Correa they were able to save money that would have been needed to spend on alternatives that may or may not have been worth it. Mark Appel we are looking at you after a subpar start to your 2013 college campaign.
For starters when evaluating the 2012 draft class, you can’t just look at Correa who still very well could be an All-Star himself. Lance McCullers, Jr and Rio Ruiz must be included in that discussion. Had the Astros drafted Appel, it is highly unlikely both of those players would have been drafted by Houston. The tradeoff is just that Correa is 18 and further away from the major leagues.
This is not to say that even on its own, that was a bad pick. He has the right attitude and he looks and acts like a future major leaguer. And at a height of 6’4’’ and a weight of 190 at 18 years old, he certainly has the body of a major leaguer. But the most important thing to remember here is that he will likely get stronger as he ages.
At this point it is hard to accurately project Correa’s future. We know he has the talent, the work ethic, and the potential. You can draw parallels between Correa and the Astros. They are both full of potential and blank slates. The canvas is essentially blank. We know there is talent and direction, but it is still unclear exactly how things will progress. What we do know is that it is an exciting time to be an Astros fan.