Astros love talent and makeup of top pick

HOUSTON — The Astros were looking for a player who could become the face of this struggling franchise with the No. 1 pick in this year's draft.

The more they learned about Carlos Correa, the surer they were he could become just that.

Houston loved the talent and skills of the 17-year-old shortstop. But the Astros were just as impressed with him as a person. Correa, who starred at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, is bilingual and has a 4.0 G.P.A.

"There were some really good choices in this draft so it was not a clear cut decision, but the more we probed, the more we thought about where we are as an organization and the types of skills and people that we need, this player just continued to scream out at us that this was the one," Houston GM Jeff Luhnow said.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder is the first shortstop taken first overall since the Rays chose Tim Beckham in 2008 and the fourth shortstop taken with the top pick since 1994. He's also the highest drafted player from Puerto Rico.

Houston scouting director and assistant GM Bobby Heck and his scouts spoke to many at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy as they were preparing for the draft and received only good reviews.

"We talked to the coaches and the staff there and we also talked to the teachers and the more we dug up, the more positives there were," Heck said.

Many mock draft lists predicted the Astros would select Stanford RHP Mark Appel, who slid to Pittsburgh at No. 8 overall.

With the second pick, Minnesota took Georgia high school OF Byron Buxton, considered a five-tool player with perhaps the best pure hit tool in the draft.

Florida junior C Mike Zunino was selected No. 3 by the Mariners, becoming the highest-drafted Gator in history. Florida LHP Brian Johnson went to Boston with the final pick of the first round. For more on Zunino, go to tampabay.com/blogs/gators/.

FSU OF James Ramsey, a senior, was taken by the Cardinals with the 23rd overall pick.

OBITUARY: Pedro Borbon, who pitched 10 years for the Reds and helped the Big Red Machine win back-to-back World Series titles, died of cancer at his home in Pharr, Texas. He was 65. Mr. Borbon was a key member of Cincinnati's bullpen in 1975-76.

SANTANA HELD BACK: Mets LHP Johan Santana will get two extra days of rest after his no-hitter, making his next start Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

SANDOVAL CASE: The Santa Cruz County (Calif.) sheriff's office said it hopes to complete the bulk of an investigation into sexual assault allegations involving Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval this week, then determine whether to seek charges.

BLUE JAYS: X-rays on Edwin Encarnacion's right hand were negative a day after he was hit by a pitch from Red Sox RHP Daniel Bard.

D'BACKS: SS Stephen Drew will join Triple-A Reno this week for what could be the last rehab stop in his comeback from a left ankle injury nearly 11 months ago.

DODGERS: LF Juan Rivera was activated off the 15-day disabled list four weeks after rupturing his left hamstring tendon.

INDIANS: C Carlos Santana, out since May 25 because of a concussion, began a rehab assignment as the DH for Class A Lake County.

ORIOLES: MRI exams on CF Adam Jones' wrists came back negative, and Jones could return to the lineup today.

ROCKIES: LHP Jorge De La Rosa suffered a setback in his recovery from elbow ligament replacement surgery when the team discovered fluid in his elbow. … RHP Juan Nicasio went on the 15-day disabled list with a left knee strain.

TWINS: C Joe Mauer sat out with a sprained right thumb and is day to day. … RHP Carl Pavano went on the disabled list with a right anterior capsular strain. RHP Nick Blackburn was activated from the DL.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Astros love talent and makeup of top pick 06/04/12 [Last modified: Monday, June 4, 2012 11:43pm]

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