Astros think outside the box and pick Carlos Correa as their No. 1 Draft pick.

To the rest of the baseball world, it really came down to two players the Astros would decide between to be their No. 1 pick in the Draft: college pitcher Mark Appel, and high school outfielder Byron Buxton.

GM Jeff Luhnow and scouting director Bobby Heck and a roomful of execs and scouts watched MLB Network with amusement from the Draft room, knowing that the answer was actually c): neither.

As the analysts on Network speculated who the Astros would ultimately take, while surmising Luhnow was likely both nervous and excited to be running his first draft as a GM, Luhnow sat back in his chair looking about as jittery as he would if he was sitting on a lounge chair, on the beach in the Bahamas, holding an umbrella drink.

In other words, Luhnow, as has been the case since he took over as GM last November, was one cool cat throughout the process. Heck was as well, especially when he called the Astros representatives who were at the Network studios in Secaucus, NJ, to tell them who they picked.

Clearly, the Astros surprised some people by picking shortstop Carlos Correa, a 17-year-old high school kid who played amateur baseball at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy in Gurabo, Puerto Rico.

This wasn’t an open and shut case for the Astros. They’ve spent weeks discussing, dissecting and analyzing all top prospects expected to go in the first round. Their ultimate decision didn’t arrive until just before they were, as Commissioner Bud Selig phrased it, “on the clock.”

“This afternoon,” Luhnow said, asked when he decided Correa was their guy. “We were working on it all day.”

Watch the behind-the-scenes video from the Draft room

_____________

CARLOS CORREA
Position: Shortstop
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Height/Weight: 6-4/190
Age: 17
High School: Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, P.R.

______________

Questions, Answers:
Will Correa stay at shortstop?
Heck:
“He’s 17 years old. He has a big frame, advanced feet, advanced hands. He can really throw. Even if he stays at shortstop, he will be a middle-of-the-order bat.”

Luhnow:
“Carlos has a chance to be a star. Anyone who saw him play recognizes that. He has the type of bat that can produce at the Major League level — a 20, 30-type home run (hitter) playing at a premium position, whether that is shortstop or maybe third base. He will hit in the middle of the order.”

Luhnow, on Correa’s background:
“He had a 4.0 (grade point average) in high school. We asked for the transcripts. He has gotten A’s in every class he’s taken. He’s an overachiever. He’s driven to be successful.”

Is there concern he’ll ultimately decide to attend the University of Miami, where he committed to play baseball?

Luhnow:
“I suspect Miami will not see him, unless he’s visiting friends.”

______________

Media coverage:

MLB.com

Houston Chronicle

MLB.com Scouting report:

“High school middle infielders who have the tools to stay at shortstop long term aren’t always easy to find. That’s a big reason why Correa is so high on Draft lists at this point. Defensively, Correa is above average across the board — range, arm and actions — leaving no question about his ability to stay at short. He can swing the bat, too, with the potential to be an above-average hitter with outstanding power. He’s a solid baserunner who is better underway and has off-the-charts work ethic and baseball instincts. Correa’s swing can get a little long at times and he will occasionally get out of his game plan at the plate. But that’s just nitpicking and the only thing that could keep Correa from being the highest draftee from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy is his commitment to Miami.”

Baseball America:
“Correa has plenty of tools. He is a quality defender at shortstop with soft hands and a well above-average arm. He’s an above-average runner and also has excellent potential with the bat, profiling to hit for average and power. Correa has drawn comparisons to Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Zimmerman.

Photos from day one of the Draft:

Scouting director/Asst. GM Bobby Heck watches MLB Network as Draft coverage gets started.

One thing about the first round of the Draft — people are always on their phones. Understandably.

Bobby Heck takes Correa’s name off the board after picking him in the first round.

Happiness? Relief? Satisfaction? Looks like a combination of the three, post-pick.

 

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14 Comments

I have to admit I’m a little disappointed. I really thought Appel was the way to go.

Appel is represented by Boras, which would/will make him hard to sign………

No way. Appel would have been far more expensive to sign and the Astros can use that savings to hopefully sign No. 41 McCullers who will end up being a far superior talent than Appel. Appel fell all the way to 8 for a reason…I am confident this is the best 1st round in Astros history.

I’m excited. Not only is Correa a good young player with a lot of upside, he can play ss or 3rd basee. I wasn’t surprised by the Astros move, after I learned that Appel is going to be represented by Boras, I think the Astros can sign Correa, and get him to playing in the organization sooner…….I’m excited!!!! I’m also excited about Lance McCullers Jr, who’s dad was also a pitcher for I think 8 years……..Hopefully we can get him signed!!!

Can’t go wrong with any one of the top three players. I had an inkling that the Astros would pull a surprise.

I love the pick. I thought Appel was over hyped for a number one draft pick, and I could not get past the Boras piece of the equation.

I was waiting for the draft to decide where management was going with the team. Management decided to go cheap once again. You pick a 17 year old kid that won’t be ready to play for another 4-5 years. The teams pitching is atrocious, my hopes for the team are gone.

You need to look up the term “rebuilding.” The TEAM won’t be ready to compete for another 4-5 years and pretending otherwise is just going to stall their eventual success even longer. If you are a real fan, you should support the big picture — trying to win every year doesn’t really work in baseball.

You should look up the term “rebuilding.” The TEAM won’t be ready to compete for another 4-5 years. This is the perfect pick for them.

I went into yesterday rooting for Appel, but seeing how he’s handled the situation (that ridiculous statement he made through the Pirates, as well as the rumors of him wanting more money than the slot allowed(which to be fair, might not be true)) combined with the in studio interview that Correa had on MLB Network w/ the crew that covered the draft… I came out really happy with the Correa pick.

Perhaps its me being biased, and my fandom is causing me to automatically accept/like anything that Houston does, but after reading up on all of the kids, watching interviews, and witnessing the aftermath, I cant help but believe that Correa would have far and away been the one id have been rooting for out of the top 3 (Appel, Buxton, Correa) had I gathered this information beforehand.

A 17 year old toolsy shortstop who can field the position, handle the bat, and has 20-30 HR potential? Plus the fact that he seems like a great & well grounded person? Sign me up.

Amen Frank. In Luhnow we trust! Awesome day yesterday……

Hopefully the Astros have picked the next Derek Jeter. If he is as good as scouting reports indicate he has all the tools, and I especially like the “baseball smarts” comment. Sometimes this is over looked and can lead a kid with his ability to a long and very successful career.

Welcome to the Astros Carlos!! We will be able to watch you for a looooong time!!
As for Appel, being a Boras client……Jim Crane could buy and sell that man
six days a week, and twice on Sunday. I doubt anyone is “afraid” of Scott Boras…..
at least in THIS organization. I *LOVE* the fact that our GM can speak and understand the Latin cultural. BIG plus!!

This is the first year I read up on some of the players in the draft, especially with the Astros having the #1 pick. I have to totally agree, after watching interviews and reading stories about the various players, I’m hyped about Correa, who can play both short stop and 3rd. He’s a welcomed sight for this long time Astros fan. Then you look at our system, in 3-5 yrs, we’ll really be in contention, we’ve got Singelton who can play left field or 1st, Springer who can play center field, Cosart-RHP, Kyle Weiland, RHP, also DeShields who can play 2nd base, Santana another good outfielder, Ovand another good outfielder and Fontana who can play shortstop. The farm system is finally getting some recognized talent, from what I’ve read, all the farm teams are .500 or better, which is great.

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