Carlos Correa was all smiles when he heard his name voiced, knowing he had made hometown history at the baseball draft. Discount vig sides
The Houston Astros selected the 17-year-old slugging shortstop with the No. 1 pick, making him the 1st player from Puerto Rico to lead off the draft.
It was the 1st time Houston had the top pick in the draft since 1992, when the Houston Astros selected Phil Nevin — passing on a young shortstop named Derek Jeter, who went 5 spots later to the N.Y Yankees.
First-year Astros CEO Jeff Luhnow said Correa “has an opportunity to be a star” who could hit 20-30 home runs in the pros, whether it’s as a shortstop or “ultimately maybe 3rd base.”
Correa was one of 5 players in attendance at the draft, but his introduction was far from the most entertaining. Texas high school outfielder Courtney Hawkins did a backflip — after being poked by a TV reporter when a video was shown of him landing one — a couple of seconds after going No. 13 to the Chicago White Sox.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Hawkins, wearing a White Sox cap and jersey, talked with managing director Kenny Williams shortly after he stuck his landing.
While the NFL has one or two dozen players show up for its draft, baseball has slowly made its event a place to be with the broadcasted first round and top representatives available — just a few years after it was once held completely by conference call. The five players in attendance this year were the most since the draft moved to MLB Network studios in 2009.
Joining Correa and Hawkins were Oklahoma State lefty Andrew Heaney (No. 9, Marlins), Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini (No. 12, Mets) and Washington school catcher Clint Coulter, who went 27th to the Brewers.
Heaney, a draft-eligible sophomore, had tears in his eyes after Miami selected him. Sitting with the other players in a temporary dugout, Heaney headed over to shake Selig’s hand and soon was wearing a Marlins cap and jersey.
While recent drafts lacked 1st-pick intrigue, Luhnow claimed the Astros didn’t compromise on Correa until about an hour before they went on the clock. Several ridicule draft lists predicted the Astros would select Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, but instead Houston made a slightly surprising selection — though Correa was regarded ones one of the top 5 players accessible.
Correa has an extraordinarily strong arm and terrific instincts on defense, and the Astros hope they have found a big-time bat for the middle of their lineup. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound star from Santa Isabel starred at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and is committed to the University of Miami, but is likely headed to Houston’s farm system as an alternative.
“Right now, he stays at shortstop and if he was supposed to happen to grow out of it, it’s the power that’s the attraction here and it’s the middle of the order potential impact bat,” Astros scouting director and helper GM Bobby Heck related. “So if he has got to move, his profile is still very, very strong.”