The Houston Astros selected shortstop Carlos Correa as the number-one overall pick in the 2012 amateur player draft Monday evening. Correa, 17, drafted out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, is a 6’4″, 190-pound shortstop with a wiry and strong athletic body. The early consensus: Correa is the second-best overall bat in the draft. Baseball America lists him as the sixth-best overall prospect.
Defensively, Correa has a plus-plus arm, fluid motion defensively with soft hands. He has a quick release, action and range that should keep him at shortstop, despite the possibility that he will fill out even more over time.
While some believe he could end up at third base, his bat will profile anywhere on the diamond, with the potential of being a true impact player. In fact, he has drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez and Troy Tulowitzki — that’s high praise.
Offensively, what has scouts drooling most, is his ability to maintain consistent, hard contact. However, he can get pull-happy at times and expand the strike zone. He generates impressive loft on the baseball, using his entire body and creating leverage with his impressive bat speed. He has outstanding hand-eye coordination and raw power, enabling him to drive the ball a long way, mostly to his pull side, so far.
His overall mechanics and advanced approach are impressive for his age. Having said that, he can be long to the baseball, due to his (at times) abbreviated load and stride. He will need to refine his plate discipline, but that’s not exactly uncommon for his age. He does have trouble with breaking pitches late in the count.
His mechanics, impeccable work ethic and overall five-tool-set should get Houston fans very excited. He’s not just a toolsy athlete, he’s a baseball player.
On the base paths, he possesses average to slightly-above-average speed, but he could regress some as he fills out. Either way, he will still be very respectable on the base paths for a shortstop. The same can be said regarding his defense at short, this is why there have been some concerns among scouts moving forward. However, many analysts believe he can stick long-term. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him eventually at third base as more of a power threat.
Correa should be a quality-impact shortstop with his across-the-board, above-average defensive skills. He should be an above-average hitter with the potential to be a true run producer — perennially flirting with 15-20 home runs with room to improve if he fills out.