Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Early Draft Preview - Carlos Correa; Matt Smoral

For more on the 2012 MLB Draft click here.

The Pirates have the #8 overall pick in the upcoming June MLB amateur draft.  Additionally, the Pirates will have at least one supplemental draft pick, with a second supplemental pick possible depending on what Derrek Lee does in free agency.  However, The two players profiled below most likely will only be available at that 8th spot, as both players are currently elite draft prospects.  Profiled are two high school kids, one pitcher and one hitter.

Carlos Correa - HS SS - Committed to Miami (FL)

As you can tell from the photograph, Correa is tall and wiry, meaning he has plenty or physical projection. Listed here at 6'4, 190 lbs, Correa is as a solid athlete.  Even as he fills out, Correa should be able to stick at shortstop due to fluid movements, solid instincts, and an arm that create an above-average defensive package.  That ability - to be an above-average shortstop - makes any team salivate, but it's Correa's bat that could make him truly special.

Correa is blessed with great bat speed, generated by quick wrists.  In addition, strong hands give him solid bat bat control. It's those attributes, along with usable plate discipline, that should allow to be a solid hitter for average.  Even more exciting, Correa has the body type to add serious muscle, giving him impressive power potential.  Correa probably won't win any home run titles, but he could hit 30 HR's down the road during a career year, and if things go well, he could be a consistent 20+ HR threat.  In addition, Correa has usable basepath speed along with the instincts to steal 20-30 bases, especially in his younger years. 

In addition, what makes Correa an elite draft prospect, at least in my mind, is his age.  The kid just turned 17 in September, and will be drafted as a 17 year old come next June.  He will play his entire first season at age 18.  That may seem like only a small factor, but check out these two excellent articles (here and here) on Baseball Prospectus.  It researches and explains in depth the eye-opening success high school batters have had when they have been unusually young throughout the history of baseball.  In 2009, it was Mike Trout, who has established himself as one of the top prospects in all of baseball.  This past draft, it was Francisco Lindor, who I'm very high on.  This year, it's Correa, who's the youngest batter in mlb.com's top 50 draft prospects.

As a five-tool shorstop with a potentially elite bat, Correa already has ridiculous potential.  His youth serves to amplify it even more, making him one of the premier talents eligible for next June's draft. Draft experts have him in the teens or later on their board - 16th on mlb.com and 11th on BA for high school players - but I believe that's too low.  I personally view Correa as a top 10 talent, and am tempted to say he's the best high school bat in the draft.  I'd be thrilled if the Pirates were able to get him at #8. 

Matt Smoral - HS LHP - Committed to UNC

In the picture, Smoral looks massive.  Crazily enough, the picture doesn't even do the left handed prep pitcher justice.  Listed at 6'8, 225 lbs, Smoral literally towers over his competition.  He also screams projectability to teams who may look to draft him next June. 

Experts current take on Smoral is mixed.  Baseball America rates him as their 6th best high school draft prospect at the moment.  On the other hand, mlb.com only rates him 31st overall. 

What isn't in question is Smoral's already impressive current stuff. Smoral sits in the low 90's with his fastball, solid velocity for a lefty.  In addition, Smoral currently posses a decent changeup that shows significant promise.  He rounds out his arsenal with a fringe slider that could improve, especially considering the vertical plane Smoral throws it from.  That present package would land a left handed pitcher in the first few rounds out of high school; add in Smoral's ridiculous projectability due to his height, and he's a first rounder. Even better for Smoral is the fact that he has an entire spring season to pitch before the draft.  A good senior year, especially if he shows even more velocity, could land him in the top 10 and he could even pass fellow lefty Max Fried and become the first high school southpaw off the board next June.


  1. wow, you do work. i like correa. i think smoral will be off the board by 8. a lot can change tween now and draft day. btw wv powers most famous alumnia, the hebrew hammer,ryan braun. kinda funny huh?

  2. Yep, haha. Never saw Braun actually. Wasn't into baseball at the time. Hope you like the preview. I hope to do several more over the next few months.

  3. Correa has the body and athleticism that teams love. We're far from the draft, but I can see him being a top 3 guy based on projectability alone. If he becomes a Boras guy (couldn't find anything on any agent "advising" the family), I can see him being Boras' first test case for breaking the new draft spending limits.

  4. Good preview. Thanks for the heads up.