Instant impact: Correa contributes in MLB debut
Astros' No. 1 prospect notches first hit, RBI on reviewed infield single, makes nifty play at short
CHICAGO -- Carlos Correa showed Monday, in his Major League debut, why the Astros think so highly of him.
Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, went 1-for-4 and drove in Houston's lone run in the Astros' 3-1 loss to the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, flashing leather and showing poise beyond his years.
"He handled himself as expected," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's a big leaguer for the first day, and he looked the part in every facet. We're happy to have him. He makes us better. He'll fit in nicely."
Correa's first hit and RBI came in the fourth inning on an infield single, when he was initially called out by first-base umpire Larry Vanover before the call was overturned. Correa said he knew instantly he was safe.
The shortstop also looked smooth in the eighth inning, gloving a ball behind second base, spinning and throwing to first for the last out of the inning.
"There's nothing he can't do on a baseball field," Hinch said. "He's got to learn and grow and mature like any 20-year-old getting to the big leagues, but that play doesn't surprise me. I'm proud how he handled himself, because his tempo and pace of play was like he'd been here for the entire season."
Correa, in fact, had only arrived in Chicago on Monday, flying in from Fresno, Calif., and playing on about two to three hours of sleep. Before he arrived, Correa was sitting in first class on his flight to Chicago, when he noticed the two men sitting next to him reading the newspaper.
That's when it hit the 20-year-old: He was heading to The Show. And by the time Correa stepped on the field Monday afternoon, his dream had become a reality.
"I was with [Jose Altuve] and [George Springer], and just telling them how nice this is to be up here playing with them and stuff like that," Correa said. "It was an emotional moment for me to stand there in center field and just look out at everybody there. It was a great moment."
Correa has been the face of the Astros' farm system since the team selected him No. 1 overall in the 2012 Draft. He's lived up to the hype at every step in the Minor Leagues, including this season, when he hit .335 with 21 doubles, 10 home runs, 44 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 53 games for Triple-A Fresno and Double-A Corpus Christi.
On Monday -- the day of the 2015 Draft -- Correa made his debut as the youngest player in the Major Leagues nearly three years to the day he was drafted.
"It definitely seems like it went fast," said Correa, noting last year's fractured fibula. "When I got the call, it was a great moment. Just start thinking about all that you went through and all the hard work you had to put into this moment. It's just a great feeling."
Correa said he felt welcomed by teammates when he first walked into the clubhouse Monday. Among the happiest was Altuve, who hugged Correa upon his arrival.
"I just told him I don't know if he's more excited than me because he got called up," said Altuve, who mentored the youngster during Spring Training. "I'm really proud of him."
Correa joins a Houston team that is in first place in the American League West. Hinch said Correa won't be asked to be a savior; he just needs to be himself.
"When you're drafted [No. 1 overall], it comes with a lot of responsibility," Hinch said. "He's mature enough to handle it. I told him today he just needs to be himself. He's going to test himself against the best league in the world, and [he needs] to be ready, be happy and just do his part."
If Correa's part the rest of the way is anything like his performance Monday, the Astros will certainly take it.