Carlos Correa

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

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.