In a draft devoid of a transcendent talent, or at least that’s the narrative that’s been crafted for months, the Houston Astros selected Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa first overall in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft and hope to defy those odds.
Long pegged as the landing spot for Stanford starting pitcher Mark Appel, Houston chose the possible superstar years away from the Show instead of the quick fix. That’s not a knock on Appel’s repertoire. He’s likely to pay off much faster than Correa (might be in a Major League uniform by 2014) and perhaps front-line the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation.
But General Manager Jeff Luhnow had to decide whether an ace or #2 starter heading into the American League West brought more value than a player with Alex Rodriguez’s same age measurables.
6’4, 190 pounds and 17 seventeen years young, Correa is a product of the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy. The entity serves to merge tuition and diamond knowledge or what I like to call, my dream upbringing. He’s a plus player across with the board with his speed being the only hindrance and even that is above-average.
What scouts seem to agree on is his future may not include shortstop if his body fills out the way it’s headed. A move to third base could be in the offing but that’s a decision for Houston further down the road.
His scouting report reads like the top overall selection’s should: Power bat. Hits for average. Strong arm. Athletic makeup.
Correa is a bit surprising simply because he didn’t lead the national radar as an international prospect. The Houston camp scouted him heavily though and if anything, it’s a ballsy and frankly refreshing move by the Astros to select someone that’s not a cautious, safe pick.
If Mark Appel becomes Stephen Strasburg and Byron Buxton mirrors Bryce Harper, sure, Jeff Luhnow might be out of a job. But this Draft didn’t have a name talent. And if the opinion of baseball writers are any indication following the choice, Houston might have made a risky but necessary selection that alters the future of the franchise.