JetHawks' Correa leads on, off the field
Carlos Correa's impact on the field is constantly measured and quantified. It's what he does away from the field that impresses people most.
The Astros top prospect collected three hits, including a long homer, and drove in four runs Wednesday night to power Class A Advanced Lancaster to a 6-2 triumph at Lake Elsinore.
Correa, who finished a triple shy of the cycle, put the JetHawks on the board with an RBI double in the first inning. After singling and stealing second in the third, he hit into a forceout in the fifth, then launched a three-run homer in the seventh to cap the Lancaster scoring.
"He wasn't jumpy tonight," JetHawks hitting coach Darryl Robinson said. "He saw some pitches, he swung at good pitches. He wasn't jumpy, he was smooth and easy."
Correa's fifth homer of the season cleared the scoreboard in left field and traveled an estimated 449 feet.
"That was a ball, I have to say I haven't see a ball hit that far," said Robinson, who's been with the JetHawks since 2009. "That was a bomb."
Drafted first overall in 2012, Correa has been a model of consistency this season. He posted an .828 OPS in April, a number that's climbed to .892 this month. Even with that level of productivity, Robinson feels that MLB.com's No. 7 overall prospect, who's second in the California League with 44 RBIs, can get even better.
"He's been consistent in what he does," Robinson said. "He's 19 years old. He takes good at-bats, he tries to force the issue. Instead of getting his pitch to hit, he'll hit the pitcher's pitch. It's something that younger hitters do who know they can swing the bat. He's learning though.
"That's a conversation we have every day. We stay aggressive in the zone and stay passive out of the zone. He's 19 playing in High-A ball. He's facing some good pitchers. He's taking his walks, he's learning to take his walks. He's doing a great job right now."
Perhaps Correa's greatest contributions come not with his bat or even his glove. It's his clubhouse and dugout presence that elicits the most praise from Robinson.
"He's a great teammate and he's also very smart," he said. "He's a student of the game. At 19, the things that he does in the clubhouse and the things that he does in the dugout, it's amazing to me. The kid is so far ahead of himself. Being the No. 1 pick ... looking at the kid and being around the kid, you would never say this kid is the typical first player taken.
"He's a true team player and true leader. He leads by example, that's the type of player he is. I had to talk to him earlier in the year about not thinking he needed to carry the team on his back. You don't have to carry everything on your shoulders. I like everything about him. He's a great kid, a born leader, it's not something that he learned, that was a birthright, that's who he is. Everybody gravitates to him. Everybody wants to, not be like him, they want to listen to him, feed off of him. That's just something that was given."
Tony Kemp reached base three times and scored three runs out of the leadoff spot, while Ruben Sosa was 3-for-4 with an RBI for Lancaster.
JetHawks starter Kent Emmanuel (2-1) gave up a run on three hits over five innings, while Astros No. 4 prospect Lance McCullers allowed a run on three hits with six strikeouts over the final four frames for his fourth save.
Hunter Renfroe, the Padres' fifth-ranked prospect, doubled, walked twice and scored a run for the Storm.
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.