KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The humor of Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch is dry and droll, and as he prepared for a question about shortstop Carlos Correa, he mentioned that the topic of his 21-year-old shortstop hadn't been raised at all this spring. He hasn't had to talk about Correa at all, he said.
Not at all -- except for every day. Because every day, there seem to be reporters swinging through Astros camp to ask about Major League Baseball's next great star. Every day, there seems to be another camera crew following him around. Every day, there seems to be some kind of a special shoot for a cover or a commercial. Some members of the Osceola County Stadium grounds crew talked Wednesday about how cool it has been to get a peek behind the scenes on how this sort of stuff comes together, with the lights and the big lens.
Correa has just 119 days in the big leagues, and by the conclusion of the 2016 season, he probably will have accumulated more attention than all of his much more experienced teammates combined in their careers. More than Jose Altuve, the three-time All-Star who Correa reveres, or Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, or center fielder Carlos Gomez, who might be the most sought-after free-agent position player next fall. The Astros are monitoring all of this and assessing, and undoubtedly the veterans are watching to see how Correa is handling the weight of the scrutiny and the pressure attached.
But daily, Correa provides reminders of how rooted he is, particularly in his daily preparation. Teammates talk about how meticulous he is in his preparation, in approaching each ground ball like it was a math problem that requires a process. The hands are in the right place, the feet are in the right place, habits reinforced by years of work with his father in Puerto Rico.