Carlos Correa (David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports)
The Houston Astros made Carlos Correa the first overall pick of the 2012 draft for a reason. Yes, Byron Buxton might be getting a little more recognition and appreciation on the top prospect lists, but that doesn’t mean that Correa will not be every bit as good.
Last season Correa spent the entire year playing in A ball for Quad Cities. The then 18-year old hit .320 with nine home runs and 86 RBI’s while stealing 10 bases. The next logical step for Correa would be start the season playing for Lancaster in High-A ball. As Correa gets ready for his first major league Spring Training, Brian McTaggart took a look at the shortstop.
When watching the shortstop, what is clear, is not just his talent, but how mature he is. Inviting Correa to the major league Spring Training is a wise move as the experience will prove to be valuable down the line for him. After watching him play last year and looking at what is in store for Correa in the future, it is easy to get carried away, but the Astros must remain patient.
"Correa has already made strong impressions on the Major League staff after appearing in a handful of Grapefruit League games last year. At 19, he’s not going to make the Opening Day roster, but this will probably be the final spring he comes to camp not considered a part of the immediate plans for the Major League club.“It was a great experience to be there last year,” Correa said. “This year will be a whole new experience. We’ll get to go out to a big league clubhouse and we’ll see how it’s played at the highest level. And get to play with that talent.”"
We know Correa can play the game, that much is clear. But there will likely be some periods of adjustment, and those will likely come on the mental side of the game. Everything we have seen at this point from Correa leads us to believe that will not be an issue.
"“I feel I’ve grown a lot, especially mentally,” Correa said. “The game is 90 percent mental. The experiences I’ve gotten since I was drafted have been invaluable to the club. I think I’m a better player because of my mental approach to the game. It’s been a great experience to play in the big leagues in Spring Training and go out there with [manager] Bo Porter, and you learn a lot when you’re out there with those guys.”"
But the big takeaway for me here, is that Correa is not looking too far down the line. He is keeping his expectations measured and knows that there is still work to be done.
"Correa was frank in a recent interview, saying his goal was to make the Double-A roster at the beginning of the season, not the end. He’s blessed with a tremendous arm, poise and footwork, and he figures to grow into more power as he gets older. He admits he’s still progressing."