The Houston Astros surprised the baseball world on the night of June 4 by choosing infielder Carlos Correa as the first overall pick in the MLB draft.
Correa, age 17, made baseball history by becoming the first Puerto Rican player to be selected first overall in the draft. The last time a Puerto Rican born player was chosen so high in the draft was when Jose Cruz, Jr. was drafted third overall out of Rice University in 1995. Correa attended the Puerto Rican Baseball Academy in Gurabo, Puerto Rico prior to his selection in the draft. The school is unlike any other in Puerto Rico or the U.S. It is a prep school for students aspiring to play college and professional baseball. The Astros have extremely high hopes for Correa. MLB.com reported the team’s Director of Scouting, Bobby Heck, as saying “We feel very comfortable that the Draft isn’t his finish line. The Major League All-Star Game is his finish line.”
Many draft analysts were expecting right-handed pitcher Mark Appel to be the first overall selection. Appel, however, was chosen eighth by the Pittsburgh Pirates, a team already loaded with great pitching prospects. What makes Appel’s position in the draft even more interesting is that he was the fourth pitcher chosen, and two of the previous three were right-handed. Appel opted not to speak to the media after the draft, but released the following official statement: “I’m currently concentrating on winning a national championship and finishing my academic endeavors at Stanford. I will address the possibility of a professional career in due time.”
Minnesota had the second pick, choosing outfielder Byron Buxton. Buxton is a potential two-way player and supposedly has a fastball that can reach 99 m.p.h. However, Minnesota seems more interested in using him as a fielder. The organization has produced several talented outfielders over the last few seasons.
The third overall pick went to the Mariners, who chose catcher Mike Zunino out of the University of Florida. Zunino was this year’s Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, and is known for his power-hitting skills.
Our hometown team, the Red Sox, had two selections in the first round this year. With the 24th overall pick, they chose shortstop Deven Marrero out of Arizona State University. Marrero is a highly touted defensive prospect who can also bring some offense into the mix. With the 31st and final pick in the first round, the Sox chose left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson. Johnson is also highly touted, and is currently playing in the NCAA tournament for the University of Florida. In 16 starts for the Gators this season, Johnson is 8-4 with a 3.56 ERA while holding opponents to a .242 average. He is also a potential two player, as he is currently hitting .310 with five home runs. The Red Sox, however, plan to develop him as a pitcher.
Overall, this year’s MLB draft was fun to watch and full of surprises. History was made and the baseball world was shocked when Correa was chosen first overall. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the favorite to be picked first going eighth overall. This draft was loaded with talent, and as passionate fans, we should all be excited about the future of these young players.