"I never doubt myself because I prepare every offseason to have a lot of confidence when I step on the field," Correa said. "My mind is bulletproof, man. Nobody can tell me I'm not going to get better, nobody can tell me I'm not going to do this or that. I'm going to go out there and try to perform and do the best for the team."
It was a year ago that Correa came to camp coming off a broken ankle suffered at Class A Lancaster the previous summer, and he wasn't expected to make the team. Correa didn't, of course, but he was with the Astros by early June and quickly proved he was a force. Correa says he still has plenty to prove despite his success.
"I'm going to go out there like I'm competing for a spot and I'm just going to go out there and work hard every single day and try to impress people," he said. "It's no different. In your mind, you know you're going to be the starting shortstop, but at the end of the day, I want to go out there and compete and play hard every single game."
Correa, 21, is as much of a star off the field these days as he is on the field. He hit .279 with 22 homers and 68 RBIs last year in 99 games and carried himself with the kind of poise usually reserved for veterans. He became a fan favorite in Houston and garnered national attention with his engaging persona and easygoing manner.
"He's not really going to sneak up on anybody anymore," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The attention he was getting -- he was all over the World Series, unfortunately not playing. He's as notable as anybody. He's popular with the media, he's popular with the other players. Everybody looks up to him. There's a presence about him that when you walk out on the field, it stands out."
Correa has heard these kinds of high praises since the Astros drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft at 17 years old.
"It means a lot coming from the manager," he said.
Correa said he always visualized being able to do the kinds of things he's gotten to do recently off the field -- the commercials, the photo shoots, the shoe deal. And he understands when it comes time to focus on baseball, he'll be zoned in.
"There's always time to do stuff and I always try to find time to do all kinds of stuff," Correa said. "It's good to be able to do a movie about Clemente, to be able to interact with the fans and stuff like that and go to the mall every once in a while. My priority is playing baseball and helping my team win games, and that's what I'm going to focus on from now on."
As far as the Astros go, Correa says the team could be on the brink of something special.
"I think we have the team to win it all," he said. "It's just about going out there and performing and everyone staying healthy in order to accomplish great things this year."