Astros' Correa on Rookie of the Year win: 'It's an unbelievable feeling'
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa had a flashy introduction to the league this past season, and he was recognized on Monday by being named the American League Rookie of the Year.
In winning, Correa beat out Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (considered by some the AL's top choice) and Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins.
An invaluable part of the Astros as they battled toward their first postseason appearance since 2005, Correa hit .279/.345/.512 with 22 home runs and 68 RBI in 99 games.
Correa's red-hot rookie campaign netted him 17 first-place votes by members of the BBWAA, while Lindor received 13...making this a particularly close race for the AL's top spot.
As quoted by MLB.com's Brian McTaggart on Monday night, Correa basically called 2015 a 'dream season':
"It's like a season I thought would only happen in a dream," Correa said. "If you told me before the season started this was going to happen, I would not believe you. I started the year in Double-A. A few years back, in 2012, they drafted me with the first pick overall, and everybody was saying I was not supposed to be the first pick and was not the best player, but the hard work came through and I've been working hard all these years to be able to get to this level and be able to accomplish some things."
As a result of his exploits, Correa joins Jeff Bagwell as the second Astro to be named Rookie of the Year (Bagwell won in 1991). A proud product of Puerto Rico, the 21-year-old phenom told McTaggart just how important this achievement was to him:
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Correa said. "Right now there's thousands of people out there and celebrating with me this accomplishment. People are really passionate about baseball here in Puerto Rico. For me to be able to bring this award back home and celebrate with them, it means a lot for them, but for me as well."
There's no denying Correa's impact on the Astros this past season, something his manager A.J. Hinch definitely appreciated. As he told McTaggart:
"He exceeded expectations on how he handled the spotlight and the pressure on hitting in the middle of the order at such an early part of his career and his overall impact on his teammates," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I'm so proud of how he is as a teammate and how he interacts with the guys on the team. And really, he has an uncanny singular focus on winning today's game when he shows up at the ballpark, and for a manager, that's all I can ask out of our players."
If the entire league still wasn't on alert regarding Correa's status as an 'elite' young player, it is now. In the minutes and hours after the announcement, Correa's teammates Dallas Keuchel, Carlos Gomez, Collin McHugh, Jason Castro and manager A.J. Hinch showered down congratulations on Twitter, as they're obviously quite proud of being able to take the field alongside him each night.