It came down to the wire, but Carlos Correa is heading to the Futures Game thanks to the first-ever Futures Finalists vote.
With the final two spots in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game -- one each for the United States and World teams -- decided by fans in online voting for the first time, Correa, the Astros shortstop prospect, and Javier Baez, the Cubs prospect at the same position, were locked in a tight battle throughout the voting process. But it was Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, who narrowly defeated Baez, the No. 9 overall selection in 2011, by one percent. Rangers infield prospect Rougned Odor finished in third among the World Team candidates.
Correa was excited, obviously, about playing in a Major League park like Citi Field with a talented group of his peers. But the nod meant even more to him considering it came from the fans, particularly given the support he received from his native Puerto Rico.
"The fans went crazy over there. It was all over the news. Everybody was voting over there," Correa said. "I heard from my family that everybody would see them in the malls, in the restaurants, wherever they'd see them, and say, 'We're voting for for your son. We're supporting him,' so that's great for my family. It makes them feel like the country really cares about baseball and about me.
"They trust me and what I can do. They gave me their support, so I want to be out there and do my best at the game and make the fans proud and happy."
World Team Futures Finalists voting
|1.||Carlos Correa||QC River Bandits (HOU)|
|2.||Javier Baez||Daytona Cubs (CHC)|
|3.||Rougned Odor||Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX)|
|4.||Ji-Man Choi||Jackson Generals (SEA)|
|5.||Renato Nunez||Beloit Snappers (OAK)|
Correa will represent Puerto Rico on the World Team, just over a year after he became the first Puerto Rican to be taken with the top pick in the Draft. He's had an outstanding first full season, hitting .323/.408/.457 over his first 65 games with Quad Cities in the full-season Midwest League. The No. 28 prospect in baseball went 2-for-3 in the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 18.
Clearly, many people believed in Correa's abilities and his qualifications to be added to the Futures Game roster. His unofficial campaign received support from all around baseball, especially within his extended Houston Astros family. Twitter was ablaze with people urging others to vote for Correa.
It started at the top, with Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow, and spread throughout the scouting department, both on the pro side, with coordinator of pro scouting Kevin Goldstein, and on the amateur side, with scouting director Mike Elias. Even roving hitting instructor Jeff Albert got in on the act, joining four Minor League affiliates (Greenville, Quad Cities, Tri-City, Corpus Christi) and the big league club in tweeting out support.
Correa won't be the only Astros prospect in New York for the game. He'll be joined by outfielder George Springer and second baseman Delino DeShields as well, representing a Houston farm system that's received an influx of high-end prospects over the past few years.
"It's good to have players on the Astros out there at the All-Star Game. I know Delino and Springer, they're great players," Correa said. "I'm really happy that they made it, too. I'm preparing myself and really looking forward to being out there in New York."
Correa wasn't the only one who had Twitter campaigns going on, either. Brandon Nimmo won the race for the U.S. team, followed by Garin Cecchini of the Red Sox and Tigers prospect Nick Castellanos, the MVP of last year's Futures Game, who came in third.
Nimmo, the 2011 first-round pick of the Mets, received support from members of the big league Mets roster as well as GM Sandy Alderson. The Wyoming native has spent this season in Savannah and has hit .277/.378/.371 in 52 games during his full-season debut. The Mets' No .4 prospect was a South Atlantic League All-Star.
U.S. Team futures finalists voting
|1.||Brandon Nimmo||Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM)|
|2.||Garin Cecchini||Portland Sea Dogs (BOS)|
|3.||Nick Castellanos||Toledo Mud Hens (DET)|
|4.||Tyler Austin||Trenton Thunder (NYY)|
|5.||Courtney Hawkins||Winston-Salem Dash (CWS)|
The 15th annual Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game takes place at 2 p.m. ET on All-Star Sunday at Citi Field in New York and can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World team dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.