Shortstops drafted first overall in the MLB Draft are a very mixed bag. The last two, Tim Beckham and Matt Bush, have failed to make the big leagues. The two before that, Alex Rodriguez and Chipper Jones (both of which were converted to third base, but Jones much earlier) have become superstars. Can Correa end the recent downward trend and emerge as the superstar the Houston Astros need him to be?
Physically, Correa is a lanky 6’3″, 185. Luckily for Correa, that immediately puts him in the group of Jones and Rodriguez as opposed to Beckham and Bush. Beckham is 6’0″, 190 and Bush is 5’9″, 180 while Alex Rodriguez is 6’3″, 225 and Chipper Jones is 6’4″, 210. Correa’s physical profile seems like it’s going to be a mix of Jones and Rodriguez, maybe having a 6’3″, 210 frame when he fills out. But while the body type is interesting in that it groups Correa with the elite guys, what provides more substantial evidence that Correa belongs with Jones and Rodriguez is his tools.
Correa isn’t coming out of the draft as a toolsy 5-tool infielder who is expected to do everything like a Beckham or a Bush. Beckham and Bush had little room to mature physically and their development involved a lot of hoping. Beckham and Bush were fast. They had great arms (Bush was later converted to a pitcher). They had the ability to succeed defensively at shortstop based on their nice range, although their hands were a question. But both of them came out of the draft with inconsistent hitting ability and power. They showed nice bat speed. That wasn’t in question. But their ability to handle premium pitching and specifically breaking pitches certainly was. They hit lines drives and showed great raw power at times, but their present power was extremely inconsistent. That’s the case with most prep prospects, but it was especially concerning given the fact that Bush and Beckham were maxed out physically. If they could get consistent at the plate, it wouldn’t be a problem, but they could not. Correa has the same, even better, bat speed and present power and he still has room to grow physically. Correa may lose some speed as he fills out, but unlike Beckham he’s not advertised as a speed player anyway and that won’t damage his game. He comes with outstanding hitting ability with great power, smooth defense, and a great arm. Any team would be more than happy to have a player with four legitimate plus tools than that. Four tangible great tools are better than a five iffy tools.
Will Correa pan out? We still don’t know. Correa has had his struggles with the bat, especially against fastballs inside. He’s certainly no guarantee by any stretch. But he has a better chance to be a quality major league player and even a superstar. And one other factor: Correa’s attitude. He’s a vibrant personality, a leader, and is dedicated to doing everything he can to improve his game. Bush and Beckham’s respective downfalls may have as much to do with their attitudes as anything else. Bush is currently on the disabled list and likely to go to jail following a drunk driving incident, and Tim Beckham is currently suspended for drug abuse. Those type of problems will not be the case with Correa. Carlos Correa stil comes with risk. But he has the present ability, the upside, and the attitude to be everything the Astros dream he can be.
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