The Houston Astros surprised a lot of experts by selecting prep shortstop Carlos Correa with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft on Monday. Now, in even more shocking news, the two parties have reached an agreement on a contract.
According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, Astros owner Jim Crane claims the team has reached a verbal agreement with Correa already and expects to host the Puerto Rican shortstop and his family as soon as late Wednesday night. If Correa passes his physical there will likely be a press conference on Thursday to announce the signing.
Correa is scheduled to have that physical on Thursday morning, then take batting practice before Houston’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Minute Maid Park.
Crane wouldn’t say how much the two sides agreed to in bonus money, but he hinted that it would be less than the $7.2 million Major League Baseball had prescribed for the No. 1 pick. That would leave extra cash around to sign other picks, like high school pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. who the Astros selected with the 41st pick. McCullers is expected to be a difficult sign.
Correa is just 17 years old and projects as an outstanding hitter who has the range to stay at shortstop, but thanks to his 6’4″ and 190-pound build he may outgrow the position. Still his bat would profile well at third base and he would be a plus-plus defender there.
He is expected to report to extended spring training soon and will likely begin his career with the Gulf Coast League Astros.
Correa’s early signing is shocking because top picks usually wait until the last minute to sign deals. Correa has bucked that trend and will get to start his career immediately as a result.