Astros prospect Carlos Correa and Dodgers prospect Julio Urias have a combined age of 36, but each already has shown the potential to be a once-in-a-generation player.
Correa made a series of spectacular plays at shortstop, including four diving stops, and chipped in two hits, two RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base Friday night in Class A Advanced Lancaster's 14-7 win at Rancho Cucamonga. Urias, the Quakes' starter, held one of the California League's top offenses to a run on three hits over four innings.
"[Correa] is 19 years old. Most people don't understand that. He's 19 and he's playing in a league with a lot of really good pitchers, and he's holding his own," Lancaster manager Rodney Linares said.
Linares was also impressed by Urias, whom he'd seen pitch once before.
"What don't you love about a 17-year-old throwing 96 out of the left side?" he asked. "He was a little wild that [first] game. Tonight, you could really see what everybody's talking about. He had good composure out there. That's really special for his age."
The Dodgers' top pitching prospect fanned Correa -- MLB.com's No. 7 overall prospect -- to end the opening inning after he picked off Tony Kemp. Urias issued his first of two walks to lead off the second but got a strikeout and a double play before pitching a perfect third. Kemp doubled off him in the fourth and scored before Urias fanned Correa a second time.
"He threw a good curveball a few times and a couple of decent changeups. He's got an above-average fastball and a couple of off-speed pitches with the potential to be above-average. You just don't see that in a 17-year-old in this league," Linares said. "You never see that. I've never seen it: A kid who throws 96 at 17 years old? A lefty?
"I actually saw him after he [came out] sitting in the dugout when I was coaching third base. I told him, 'Hey, just keep your composure.' He's got everything else."
While Correa struggled in those first two at-bats, he began working wonders defensively in the third inning. And Linares lost track of how many stellar plays the shortstop made over the course of the four-hour game.
"It wasn't only three, it wasn't four. It was the usual. That's the usual, the way he's been playing all year," the manager said. "He could play shortstop in the big leagues. He's as good a defender as I've seen.
"I told somebody in our front office, he makes plays that I can't explain on the reports. It's so tough to explain these plays because they're unbelievable. The other day, there was a line drive in the gap and he dove and at the same time, turned around from the glove side and made the throw to first to double off a runner. It's unbelievable, but he does it every night. We're waiting for his offense to catch up to his defense a little bit."
That said, Correa is batting .310 and is tied for fourth in the league with 32 RBIs for the first-place JetHawks. Linares said that if Correa's hitting isn't as strong as his defense, it's because that bar is set extremely high.
"He gets all the routine plays and he's one of the most accurate throwers I've seen in 17 years of coaching. And his throws have carry, too," Linares added. "He's a highlight reel every night. We're focusing on playing shifts, and he makes unbelievable plays on both sides [of second base]. He's not afraid to dive. Every time he throws the ball, it's different [from anybody else]. It's special.
"I told somebody the other day that I've seen Bryce Harper and a lot of other guys play at a young age. I was fortunate enough to have George Springer. But Correa is the best player I've ever seen at this age."
Kemp went 4-for-6 with a pair of steals and three runs scored for Lancaster, while 13th-ranked Astros prospect Teoscar Hernandez broke an 0-for-11 slump with a homer and a career-high five RBIs.
"He didn't play yesterday and he had a couple of bad games before that," Linares said. "I love Teoscar and what he brings to the table. His power is coming along. The one he hit tonight was a bomb."
Correa, Kemp and Hernandez helped the JetHawks erase an early 6-1 deficit as they scored seven runs in the fifth and five more in the ninth.