The 17-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa made history Monday night as the number one pick from Puerto Rico for the Houston Astros. Previously, catcher Ramon Castro had made hometown history as the highest-drafted player out of Puerto Rico at pick number 17, going to the Houston Astros in 1994.
Correa, moments before speaking to the crowd at the draft site, reached into his pocket near the podium and pulled out a small Puerto Rican flag, waving it to the cheering crowd.
“I feel so excited to be the number one pick,” said Correa. “I’ve worked so hard to be here.”
Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the Astros hadn’t settled on Correa until about an hour before the draft. Even though Correa was considered one of the top players available, the switch was a surprising one. It also was the first time Houston had the top pick in the draft since 1992.
Correa plans to use his signing bonus to help out his family. The Santa Isabel native was a star at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, and while committed to the University of Miami, is likely headed to Houston’s farm system instead.
Puerto Rico is no stranger to baseball heroes: Roberto Clemente, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado all have come from Puerto Rico. None of them, however, were drafted as the number one pick.
"This means a lot," Correa said. "We've got a lot of good players there."