Astros select shortstop Carlos Correa first overall

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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

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.