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Observations of Carlos Correa

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The first pick in the 2012 draft, Carlos Correa has had an outstanding season in the Midwest League. Here are my impressions after seeing him play this past weekend.

Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa
John Sickels, SB Nation/Vox Media

My impressions of Houston Astros prospect Carlos Correa can be summed up very quickly: I really, really like him.

First, the tools. He is listed at 6-4, 205, big for a shortstop, but his body is very "live" and has some electricity about it, not Byron Buxton athleticism, but still a good measure of lankiness and strength. He doesn't have anything close to Buxton's speed and I doubt Correa turns into a big stolen base threat, but he runs well and is aggressive and intelligent on the basepaths. He has an excellent throwing arm; more on his defense below.

Second, the bat. He went 0-for-3 with two walks Saturday, and 2-for-5 with a double Sunday. Those are the results but the way he went about doing it was very, very impressive. He has an excellent eye, working counts effectively and laying off junk pitches that most hitters at this level will chase. He has plenty of bat speed and even his outs were well-struck. His power isn't fully developed yet, but it is coming, and it will be all-field power: he will pull something if he can, but he'll also go the opposite way. The photo above shows him taking an outside pitch to right field for a double. He adjusts well within at-bats and has no apparent fear of hitting with two strikes.

I see Correa as a guy who can hit ..280-.300 with a high OBP and 20+ homers per season at maturity.

Third, the defense. This is the big question, can Correa remain at shortstop? In my view, yes. He has a terrific arm, strong and accurate. His range to his right/third base side is excellent; it isn't quite as good to his left/up the middle, but good enough. He has soft hands, is far more reliable than most shortstops his age (he's made just 15 errors this year), and has a commanding field presence. League sources praise his instincts and acumen.

Correa will likely lose some range as he gets older, but for the next few years I have no doubts about his ability to handle shortstop.

Fourth, the makeup. I had heard good things about Correa's personality, so I paid close attention to how he interacted with his teammates. He came across as mature, vocal and enthusiastic, praising his teammates when they did well and picking them up when they didn't, but not in a condescending way. He didn't hold himself aloof like some big bonus players do, and appeared a leader in the dugout and on the field.

So what do we have here? We have a guy who is an excellent hitter, who will show more power as he matures, who is a skilled defender at a difficult position, who has great makeup, and who doesn't turn 19 for another month. Oh, yeah, his statistics are excellent, too.

Carlos Correa: Grade A prospect.