The Astros shocked everyone Monday night, selecting Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa with the first overall pick in the MLB draft.
It was widely anticipated that the Astros would take Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, who certainly could have made an impact much sooner than the 17-year-old Correa. The Astros went with potential, though. Correa’s stock has climbed of late, and it didn’t sound as though he’d make it out of the top five.
Correa is already 6-foot-4 and offers excellent power potential for a middle infield. The question is whether he’ll be able to stay at shortstop as he continues to fill out. Scouts believe he’s a legitimate shortstop as is, but if he puts on 20 pounds over the next few years and loses a step, he might have to move to third base.
Given that the Astros are hardly one pitcher away from contention, it made sense for them to swing for the fences here. Correa is likely at least four years away from contributing, but scouts are largely in agreement that he has one of the two or three greatest upsides in the draft.
(We’ll be recapping the rest of the first round as the picks come in. Check back for links here or head over to the HBT mainpage for updates.)
Picks 2-5: Twins take Buxton, Mariners select Zunino .
Picks 6-10: Pirates halt Mark Appel’s free-fall .
Picks 11-15: A’s, Mets select high school shortstops .
Picks 16-20: Nationals roll the dice on RHP Giolito .
Picks 21-31: Blue Jays add potential 2012 callup Stroman
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.