Carlos Correa

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Carlos Javier Correa

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Biographical Information[edit]

Shortstop Carlos Correa was selected by the Houston Astros with the first overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft. He is the first player from Puerto Rico ever to be chosen with the Number One selection. Even in a draft with no consensus top pick, Correa's selection was considered a bit of a dark horse, as he had not featured in speculation about the eventual top choice. However, he strongly impressed Astros' officials in late workouts before the draft, and they compared him to a young Alex Rodriguez and to All-Star centerfielder Carlos Beltran, the best position player to emerge out of Puerto Rico in the last two decades. Correa was a pure product of Major League Baseball's efforts to foster the re-birth of baseball in neglected urban areas. He had played in the "Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities" program from the age of 10, and most recently was attending the Urban Youth Academy's Puerto Rico Branch. Fellow first-rounder Jesmuel Valentin was also in that program, as were two other players drafted in later rounds that year.

Contrary to most top selections in recent years, Correa came to a quick agreement with the team that drafted him. On June 6th, barely two days after the draft, owner Jim Crane announced that he had reached a verbal agreement with the youngster, and that a formal announcement only awaited a physical exam, putting him on track to sign a contract and take part in a pre-game workout the following day. His signing bonus was reported to be $4.2 million, well under the $7.2 million targeted outlined by MLB for the draft's top pick. He was then to return to Puerto Rico to attend his high school graduation, then report to the Astros' spring training complex in Kissimmee, FL before starting his professional career with the GCL Astros.

In his pro debut, he hit second and played short in a 1-0, 13-inning win over the GCL Cardinals on June 18th. He singled and stole second in his first plate appearance and finished one for five with a walk, steal and error for the day.

His 2014 season was cut short when he fractured his fibula just above his right ankle in June. He had hurt his leg sliding into third base on a triple while playing for the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League on June 21st. As a result, he played only 62 games, but did hit a solid .325/.416/.510, with the caveat that Lancaster is possibly the most hitter-friendly environment in organized baseball. His injury came at the same time as the Astros' other two overall number 1 picks were also experiencing difficulties, with Mark Appel struggling on the mound at Lancaster and Brady Aiken failing to sign with the team after being the top pick in the 2014 draft. This led observers to wonder if the Astros had really received all the bang they could have from their years of finishing in last place.

Correa was back on a fast track to the big leagues at the start of 2015, as no one expected his previous season's injury to have lasting ill effects. All major prospect ranking organizations ranked him either #3 or #4 heading into the season, and he was assigned to the Corpus Christi Hooks of the AA Texas League to start the year. He absolutely tore up the circuit, batting .385 with 7 homers and 32 RBIs in 29 games to earn a promotion to the AAA Fresno Grizzlies in mid-May. He hit .266 in 23 games, when the Astros, unexpectedly finding themselves in first place in the AL West, decided to call him up on June 8th. In 52 minor league games, he had amassed an amazing 21 doubles, 10 homers, 43 runs and 43 RBIs; he also was successful on 18 of 19 stolen bases attempts. he made his debut as the Astros' starting shortstop against the Chicago White Sox that day, getting one of only 5 hits off Chris Sale and driving in his team's only run in a 3-1 loss. He was the youngest player in the major leagues at that point. More milestones came in his his second game, on June 9th, as he stole his first base and connected for his first home run, a two-run 9th-inning shot off Zach Duke in a 4-2 loss to the Sox. He also homered in his first game at Minute Maid Park, going deep off Joe Beimel of the Seattle Mariners in a 10-0 win. He showed another facet of his talent on June 18th when he stole three bases in a win over the Colorado Rockies; he was the second-youngest player ever to pull off the feat, after Rickey Henderson. He was named the American League Rookie of the Month for June, after hitting .287 with 9 doubles, 5 homers and 15 RBIs, in spite of not making his debut until a week was gone in the month. He finished the season with a .279 average, 22 doubles and 22 homers in 99 games. He went 0 for 4 in the Wild Card Game, but in the Division Series, he hit .350 with 2 homers but the Astros lost in five games to the Kansas City Royals. After the season, he was voted the American League Rookie of the Year, finishing ahead of Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians.

Correa was named the American League Player of the Month in May, 2017, after hitting .386 with 24 runs scored, 8 doubles, 7 home runs and 26 RBIs; not coincidentally, the Astros finished the month with the best record in the major leagues. He was voted the starting shortstop at the 2017 All-Star Game, playing alongside his double play partner, José Altuve, as well as CF George Springer. On July 18th, however, he went on the disabled list with torn ligaments in his left thumb, an injury sustained while swinging the bat the previous day. He was expected to miss six to eight weeks, but if there was a silver lining, it was that by then the Astros had built such a huge lead in the division that they could afford to go without their best player for an extended stretch - as long as he was back in full health for the postseason. The Astros had their worst month in August in his absence, but he returned on September 3rd, collecting an RBI single in an 8-6 win over the New York Mets that completed a three-game sweep in the team's return to Minute Maid Park after having been temporarily displaced by Hurricane Harvey. On September 27-28, he had back-to-back four-hit games, topping the second, a 12-2 win over the Boston Red Sox, with his 24th homer of the year as he finished the year on a torrid streak. He ended the year at .315 in 109 games, with 24 homers and 84 RBIs, in addition to 82 runs scored. He was a key figure in the Astros' conquest of the first World Series title in their history, as he banged 21 hits in 73 at-bats (.288) with 5 doubles and 5 homers during the three rounds of the postseason. He scored 10 runs and drove in 14. In the World Series itself, he hit a pair of homers in Houston's win in seven games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Carlos was very involved in efforts by ballplayers hailing from Puerto Rico to provide assistance following the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Maria in September of 2017. In fact, he skipped the Astros' visit to the White House on [March 12]], 2018, when they met President Donald Trump. There was speculation that this was a political gesture directed against the President's contemptuous comments about the island in the wake of the storm (teammate Carlos Beltran, who is also from Puerto Rico, skipped the event as well), but he said that he simply wanted to take the opportunity of a day off to provide practical help to his countrymen. he spent the day gathering relief supplies to send to the island, explaining that as an American citizen from Puerto Rico, it was his responsibility to bring awareness to the continuing suffering experienced by the islanders. He again missed time in 2018, playing 110 games but missing all of July and parts of June and August as well due to lower back soreness. The injury depressed his batting average and sapped his power, as he only hit two long balls after his return, including one in his last game before the postseason, on September 29th. He hit just .239 as a result, with 15 homers and 65 RBIs. He was only 1 for 10 in the Division Series win over the Cleveland Indians, his only hit being a homer, but bounced back to go 6 for 19 in a losing cause in the ALCS, where the Astros were defeated by the Boston Red Sox in 6 games.

He was back playing at an elite level at the start of the 2019 season, as in his first 50 games, he hit .295 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs while the Astros were running away with the AL West title. However, the injury bug got him again, in a most unusual away, as on May 29th he was placed on the injured list after suffering a broken rib during a massage at home. He was expected to miss four to six weeks, and the injury came at a bad time as the Astros were already missing 2B Altuve and back-up Aledmys Diaz, as well as OF Springer, who were all injured as well.

Carlos's younger brother, 2B Jean Carlos Correa, also attended the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy and in 2017 joined Alvin Community College in the Houston area. He was drafted by the Astros in the 38th round in the 2019 amateur draft.

Notable Achievements[edit]


AL Rookie of the Year
2014 2015 2016
Jose Abreu Carlos Correa Michael Fulmer

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ted Berg: "Carlos Correa adjusts to life on the brink of superstardom", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, February 29, 2016. [1]
  • Jake Lourim: "Astros prospect Carlos Correa getting closer to big league call up", USA Today Sports, May 27, 2015. [2]
  • Brian McTaggart: "Healthy Correa eager to resume big league quest", mlb.com, January 23, 2015. [3]
  • Brian McTaggart: "Correa brings rising stardom to Astros camp: Reigning AL Rookie of Year does Adidas photo shoot Friday, will be in Clemente movie", mlb.com, February 19, 2016. [4]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Carlos Correa's plan for superstardom: 'It's essential I remain the same'", USA Today Sports, March 31, 2016. [5]
  • Tracy Ringolsby: "Junior Jr.? Correa marked for greatness: Talented shortstop already appears well on his way to an amazing career", mlb.com, January 16, 2016. [6]

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