At 34-24, the Houston Astros have the most wins in the American League. In service of continuing that early-season success, they are today promoting top prospect – as in, top prospect in baseball, according to many – Carlos Correa.
The timing is particularly fun, given the open of the 2015 MLB Draft later today. In 2012, Correa was the top overall pick, which was surprising to some as Correa rocketed up boards in the final days leading up to the draft.
Apropos of that, of Correa’s promotion, and of the Cubs’ own huge draft success story from the following year, here’s something interesting.
Over at Sports Illustrated, Ben Reiter recently polled 16 GMs and Assistant GMs with the following question:
“If you had the choice of Carlos Correa or Kris Bryant now, which would you pick, based on talent/potential alone.”
Like me, Reiter thought that Bryant would win in a landslide, over the young shortstop, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, Bryant didn’t even win. Eight executives chose Correa, while seven chose Bryant (one copped out and said both are great choices).
To be fair, Correa, 20, is probably going to be a heck of a baseball player. He is playing a premium position at a young age and is doing so successfully. Indeed, in his first 29 games at AA this year, Correa hit .385/.459/.726 as a 20 year old shortstop; Bryant hit .355/.458/.702 as a 22-year-old third baseman at the same level. In most of the responses in favor of Correa, the executives suggested the same reasons for the selection: he’s young, he plays a premium position and he has a chance to stick at shortstop.
While I can understand the thought process, allow my bias to show: I’ll take Kris Bryant.
While Bryant has already performed exceedingly well in the majors, Correa hasn’t quite dominated at AAA. Over his first 24 games there (113 PAs), Correa is hitting .276/.345/.449. Granted, Correa’s performance was on the upswing lately, but Bryant has proven a whole lot more at a much higher level – the only two times I remember Bryant struggling is his short-season debut at Boise (5 strikeouts) and his MLB debut (3 strikeouts). If the question truly is who do you take right now, I just don’t know why/how you could pass on the proven commodity.
Many of the respondents love Bryant’s power and recognize it as a unique strength, but I think they are taking for granted everything else he does so well. No, Kris Bryant isn’t a shortstop (and might not even stick at third), but he has shown surprising speed, excellent baseball knowledge and even greater on base skills than I think any of us could have reasonably expected out of the gate (.389 OBP).
At the end of the day, the poll was clearly a close call and I don’t think either team can/will be disappointed by their respective players – though, as Reiter points out, the Astros could have taken both had they not selected Mark Appel one spot ahead of Bryant in 2013. Clearly, there are arguments in favor of both players, and Reiter’s article does a nice job of examining all of them.
So, who would you take, Bryant or Correa?