If you follow me on twitter, you probably know that I had the opportunity to attend the Draft Party for season ticket holders at Minute Maid Park Monday evening. I will try to write a little bit more about the event in its entirety later today, but I wanted to pass on some of the things that Jeff Luhnow had to say about first round pick Carlos Correa in his remarks to the season ticket holders.
"He's the youngest player in the draft and with that comes a lot of excitement about what he could become. Physically he already looks like he belongs out there. He plays the game with intensity. He plays the game defensively in a way that makes you believe he could be a Gold Glove shortstop some day. And offensively, he not only has a quick bat and a good sense of when to swing, he's got tremendous power," stated Luhnow in his opening remarks.
Luhnow went on to talk about how they have been following him since he was fourteen and how he's seen him personally several times in the last year. Recently, Correa played with the Astros Extended Spring Training squad. According to Luhnow, Correa not only held his own, but actually stood out among some of the more seasoned professionals on the team. Physically, he compared Correa to Cal Ripken and A-Rod.
"The kicker" for Luhnow was getting to know Correa and his family. He took a flight to Florida on a recent Astros off-day to spend time with Correa's family and to learn more about him. He was extremely impressed with the stories that they told him "about how early in the morning he'd get up and the kind of habits he had." In particular, they told a story of his embarrassment as Correa came to the States to participate in a tournament without knowing English; he promptly learned English on his own.
Luhnow declared, "That says something. He had a goal. He wanted to learn English. He did. He had a goal. He wanted to get drafted high and he did. His next goal is to make the big leagues and be a star and he will. I have no doubt about it."
When asked about whether or not Correa will stick at short, Luhnow said, "He's a shortstop until he proves to us he can't play there which could possibly be ten, twenty years from now. He's going to play shortstop." And Luhnow went on to describe his skills at short in glowing terms, including having a "cannon for an arm" with the ability to throw 95 mph.
Luhnow was obviously very excited about Correa and his enthusiasm was contagious.
More about the draft event later ...