2012: Carlos Correa (Houston)
The Astros had three straight number one overall picks in from 2012-14 as they tried to jumpstart their rebuild. In 2012, they selected shortstop Carlos Correa from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy first overall.
Correa had a solid but unspectacular 50-game debut that summer with a pair of Astros rookie-level affiliates. His numbers jumped once he got to full-season ball the following year.
In 2013, Correa hit .320 at Class A, and followed that up with a .325 average at High-A in 2014. After both seasons, he was named an Organizational All-Star for the Astros and continued climbing the prospect rankings.
2015 saw Correa split the first 53 games of his season between Double-A and Triple-A before reaching Houston in June. Despite being just 20 years old, Correa continued to hit, even in the majors.
Correa in The Show
His rookie season was the first of three straight seasons of 20+ homers and 20+ doubles to start his big league career. Correa’s 99-game rookie year slash line of .279/.345/.512 netted him the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Correa’s exploits also helped the Astros make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Houston beat the Yankees in the Wild Card Game before falling to the eventual World Series Champion Royals in the ALDS.
His numbers dipped a tad in 2016, and so did the Astros, missing out on the postseason. Both rebounded in 2017, with Correa making his first All-Star Team and Houston winning the AL West. He posted career-highs in average (.315), homers (24), runs scored (82), slugging (.550), and OPS (.941). In the postseason, he hit .288 with five more homers to help the Astros clinch their first World Series Title.
Both are off to strong starts again in 2018, with Correa hovering around .300 and Houston leading the strong AL West.
Like Harper, Correa was very young when he was drafted and when he made his major league debut. Correa already has three productive seasons and a World Series ring, and won’t turn 24 until September.
In many ways, he’s become the face of Houston’s rebuild. Their rebuild is an example of how things can turn quickly if you choose wisely at the top of the draft, but they’ve had some misses, too.