The 17-year-old Puerto Rican shortstop was at Minute Maid Park on Thursday for the official announcement and met with players and took batting practice with the team.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have him as a part of our organization,” said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. “It’s a monumental day for us and for him and for the city of Houston. We’re delighted.”
Correa picked the No. 12 jersey he donned on Thursday because he was the top pick in 2012 and because he admires fellow Puerto Rican player Roberto Alomar, who wore the number.
Correa will head back to Puerto Rico to graduate from high school this weekend before joining the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League on Tuesday. And, he’s thrilled to be able to get a deal done quickly so he can begin his baseball career.
“It means a lot,” said Correa. “I want to play baseball. I want to play for the Houston Astros. I don’t want to lose time. I feel comfortable signing early. I like this team. I just want to work hard.”
Correa is the highest draft pick ever from Puerto Rico. And, he’s also the first shortstop to get drafted first overall since Tampa Bay selected Tim Beckham in 2008, and the fourth shortstop taken with the top pick since 1994.
St. Louis Cardinals players Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina, both from Puerto Rico, came onto the field early before their game against the Astros to meet Correa and talk to and pose for pictures with his family. Beltran was excited that Correa was chosen first in the draft.
“It really means a lot,” said Beltran, adding that he called to congratulate him on draft night. “I think Correa is a hero in Puerto Rico being the first pick overall. At the same time, it’s going to motivate a lot of kids back home in Puerto Rico to continue to play the game of baseball.”
The Astros, who fell to a franchise-worst 56-106 last season to earn the top pick, are hoping Correa develops into a superstar. And he seems ready for the challenge.
“I just want to get to the big league level the quickest that I can,” said the baseball phenom. “I want to be a leader. I want to be the face of the franchise. That’s what I want as a player. I will work hard right now to be a great player, an impact player in the big leagues.”