Prospects on the Verge: Carlos Correa


Detroit Tigers left fielder Trevor Crowe (63) breaks up a double play attempt by Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (84) in the first inning at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Correa was the first overall pick taken in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft by the Houston Astros. His 2012 season wasn’t anything that jumped out as he hit .258/.305/.400, mostly in the Gulf Coast League though he did get 11 games in the Appalachian League with Greeneville. The 17-year-old held his own on the season statistically, but he did stand out from a tools perspective.

The first full season for Correa is where the shortstop prospect really broke out statistically as he hit .320/.405/.467 for the Quad Cities River Bandits in the Midwest League. He would add 45 extra-base hits to go along with 58 walks and 83 strikeouts in 519 plate appearances.

At the Midwest League All-Star game that included Byron Buxton among other top prospects, it was Carlos Correa who stood out in pre-game drills and batting practice. His swing was quick and the ball came off of his bat harder than that of anyone else (which you can see in the video below). In the field he was smooth, sure handed and showed off a strong arm.

Video of Carlos Correa from the 2013 Midwest League All-Star game

While the shortstop has spent no time above the Low-A level of the minor leagues, he is exactly the type of player who could be put on a fast track. From a pure tools perspective, Correa matches up with just about anyone in the minor leagues. He couples those tools with actual skills as well. Correa has an advanced approach at the plate, which we can see in his 11.2% walk rate to go with his 16% strikeout rate from the 2013 season. He also utilizes an approach that uses the entire field as his spray chart indicates he actually goes the opposite way and up the middle more often than he pulls the baseball.

From a defensive perspective, Correa looks the part of a shortstop for the time being but will likely move to third base down the line. Currently he shows good range at shortstop to go along with smooth actions and hands. A strong arm allows him to make plays in the hole and despite being such a young player he has not shown any issue with errors in the field.

The Astros aren’t likely ready to compete in the 2014 season as they are still in rebuilding mode, though they have one of the top farm systems in baseball and could be ready to take the next step in their plan very soon. Correa isn’t going to begin his season with the big league club and may not even begin at the Double-A level, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the former number one overall pick is playing in Houston in September.