Astros promote top prospect Correa to Triple-A

Astros promote top prospect Correa to Triple-A

HOUSTON -- It's becoming more likely that shortstop Carlos Correa will reach the Majors this season at the age of 20 if he stays healthy. Correa took another step toward reaching that goal on Monday, when he was promoted to Triple-A Fresno after tearing up the Texas League.

Correa, ranked as the Astros' top prospect and the No. 3 overall prospect by MLB.com, will join the Grizzlies on Tuesday prior to their series opener in Albuquerque, N.M.

"I'm excited, man. Very excited," Correa told MLB.com. "I'm one step closer to making it to the big leagues, and I'm really excited to get that call today to go out there to Fresno. I'm very excited to go out there and play for the Grizzlies and help them win some games and perform out there on the field."

How long Correa stays in Triple-A will depend first and foremost on his performance, but he has flourished at every level since he was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2012.

The Astros will also have to weigh the possibility of Correa reaching Super Two status and getting four years of arbitration instead of three. MLB Trade Rumors projects that the Super Two cutoff will be 140 days of service time, meaning that a promotion before mid-June could cost the Astros millions down the road.

"Our concern is Carlos' development, and he's ahead of schedule," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "We want him to help our club win at the right time, and that may be soon."

In addition, the Astros are without starting shortstop Jed Lowrie until the All-Star break, and the offensive production from the position has dropped off with Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Villar, so there's a need.

"I'm going to be my best every single day to earn it," Correa said.

Correa was hitting .385 with 15 doubles, seven home runs, 32 RBIs, 15 stolen bases and a 1.185 OPS in his 29 games for Double-A Corpus Christi this season. He was given the day off on Monday and informed of his promotion following the Hooks' 2-1 win over San Antonio.

"He's dominated, and there's really not much left for him to do at Double-A," Luhnow said. "Everything from the high average to the power, to the speed, defense, leadership -- he's done it all. We wanted to see a couple of teams face him twice, and they did, and they weren't able to get him out. It's time for him to face better pitching."

Luhnow said that there's usually an adjustment period when players to go Triple-A for the first time, but he's not sure that will be the case with Correa.

"He's going to be facing some good organizations in the next few weeks that have good pitching at Triple-A, a lot of pitchers that have been in the big leagues or between the big leagues and Triple-A," Luhnow said. "It will be a huge challenge for him. One thing I've found so far with Carlos is every time I set an expectation for him, he not only meets it, but he exceeds it. That could happen easily."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.