Correa, Bregman brothers drafted by Astros
Jose Cruz's grandson, Antonio, also selected by club in 37th round
HOUSTON -- The Astros like the Correas. And the Bregmans. And three generations worth of the Cruz family.
There's Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, the dominating left side of Houston's infield, and Jose Cruz, the eldest of the lineage of Cruz's forever legendary in Astros lore because of Cruz's unbreakable status as one of Houston's best hitters in franchise history. Cruz's jersey was retired by Houston in 1992. You know them.
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Then there's J.C. Correa and A.J. Bregman, the younger brothers to the Astros' stars, who were selected by their big brothers' Major League club in the 33rd and 35th rounds, respectively, of the 2018 MLB Draft on Wednesday. Antonio Cruz is Jose Cruz's second grandson to be chosen by the Astros in consecutive years. Houston selected Antonio in the 37th round, one year after selecting Trei, Antonio's older brother, in last year's 35th round.
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By the end of Day 3 of the Draft, the Astros' family had grown significantly.
"Super happy," Carlos Correa said. "I couldn't believe it when they told me. … I just called him. He told me he was crying when he found out. He's very happy, very excited. Right now he's in Alaska playing in summer tournaments. My dad was crying. The family is very happy and proud of him."
"Little bro just got drafted by the 'Stros. That's awesome," Alex Bregman said while standing next to A.J., who happened to be at Minute Maid Park to watch his older brother face the Mariners on Wednesday. "I had no idea. Just incredible."
"I'm really happy for Antonio, I know he was looking for that," said Jose Cruz, the father of Jose Cruz Jr. whose MLB career ended in 2008 with the Astros. "Now he can say that he got drafted by the Astros, the same way like Trei. I think everybody's happy. It's wonderful. What can I say, this organization, for me, is No. 1."
J.C. Correa spent multiple months with Carlos during the Astros' offseason. The brothers -- the first pair of brothers the Astros had selected before Alex's sibling was taken two rounds later -- spent two months together living in Carlos' home. They followed diets together, worked out the same way and went to the field together, Correa said.
"He put in the time and the work," Carlos said. "And it's showing in the way he's been playing. … Every time I hit with him, I always wish I had his swing."
Carlos said his brother, who's committed to Lamar University for the 2018-19 season, took a few pre-Draft workouts, including one in Houston. A.J. Bregman is a left-handed pitcher committed to the University of New Mexico, and he's currently training in Houston with a pitching coach.
Playing for the same club is a dream for a pair of brothers, Carlos Correa said. Now the Astros have two of them.
"That would be a dream come true," Carlos Correa said. "It's obviously hard to do. But it'd be great if we could play for the same team at the big league level. … Getting drafted in the same organization really means a lot."
"I'm really excited," J.C. said. "I worked hard all my life waiting for this moment, and for me getting drafted by the Astros means a lot. It's the same team where my brother plays. I'm really happy ... When he called me, for me it means a lot.
Unlike the Correas, the Bregmans just dueled it out this offseason. A.J. pitched to Alex and what followed remains unclear.
"I say that it was a double and he says it was a popup," Alex said, jokingly.
As recently as Wednesday afternoon, shortly after Alex Bregman finished taking batting practice with his brother posted in front of the Astros' dugout, he walked over to A.J., who then began critiquing his older brother's swing from watching him in the cage.
"He told me, 'Stay inside the ball a little bit more' during [batting practice]," Alex said. "I said, 'Why don't you stop worrying about my swing and check Twitter' or something. 'You just got drafted by the 'Stros.'"
"He told me [to check Twitter], and I didn't know why at first," A.J. said. "I'm like, 'Why?' I'm so happy now. … It was amazing. It was surreal. I'm just so excited that happened. ... I can't take it all in right now. Pretty shocked. I had no idea, honestly."