SECAUCUS, N.J. - Carlos Correa was all smiles when he heard his name announced, knowing he had made hometown history at the baseball draft.
The Houston Astros selected the 17-year-old slugging shortstop with the No. 1 pick Monday night, making him the first player from Puerto Rico to lead off the draft.
"This means a lot," Correa said from the draft site at MLB Network studios. "We've got a lot of good players there."
It was the first time Houston had the top pick in the draft since 1992, when the Astros selected Phil Nevin - passing on a young shortstop named Derek Jeter, who went five spots later to the Yankees.
"I have read about that," Correa said, calling Jeter his idol as much for the New York captain's character off the field as on. "I want to be like him. He's awesome."
First-year Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Correa "has a chance to be a star" who could hit 20-30 home runs in the pros, whether it's as a shortstop or "ultimately maybe third base."
Mark Appel chose not to have a conference call with the Pittsburgh media Monday night, and instead, he issued the following statement: "I'm currently concentrating on winning a national championship and finishing my academic endeavors at Stanford. I will address the possibility of a professional career in due time."
Correa was one of five players in attendance at the draft, but his introduction was far from the most entertaining. Texas high school outfielder Courtney Hawkins did a backflip - after being prodded by a television reporter when a video was shown of him landing one - a few moments after going No. 13 to the Chicago White Sox.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Hawkins, wearing a White Sox cap and jersey, spoke to general manager Kenny Williams right after he stuck his landing.
"They said, 'Go do it,' so I went and did it," a smiling Hawkins said. "But Mr. Williams said: 'No more.'"
Joining Correa and Hawkins were Oklahoma State lefty Andrew Heaney (No. 9, Marlins), Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini (No. 12, Mets) and Washington high school catcher Clint Coulter, who went 27th to the Brewers.
Heaney, a draft-eligible sophomore, had tears in his eyes after Miami selected him. Sitting with the other prospects in a makeshift dugout, Heaney headed over to shake Selig's hand and soon was wearing a Marlins cap and jersey.
"That's about all that went through my mind is, don't trip," a beaming Heaney said.
While recent drafts lacked first-pick intrigue, Luhnow said the Astros didn't settle on Correa until about an hour before they went on the clock. Several mock draft lists predicted the Astros would select Stanford right-hander Mark Appel, but instead Houston made a somewhat surprising selection - although Correa was considered one of the top five players available.
Appel, who many predicted would be the first overall pick, slid a few spots lower, going to Pittsburgh at No. 8.
The Pirates, who selected UCLA righty Gerrit Cole with the top pick last year, went after pitching again in Appel. The ace of Stanford's staff has a mid-90s (mph) fastball and is 10-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 119 innings for the Cardinal.
In his last start before the draft, he avenged his only loss of the season by beating Fresno State in the NCAA tournament, fanning 11 in a dominant four-hitter.
With the second pick, Minnesota took speedy Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton, considered a five-tool player with a bat considered the best among all draft prospects.
"It's an exciting feeling," Buxton told MLB Network. "I'm just ready to go out and play ball."
University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino, who has drawn comparisons to Jason Varitek for his leadership and ability to handle a pitching staff, was taken No. 3 overall by Seattle.
Baltimore went with LSU right-hander Kevin Gausman with the fourth pick, adding a potential ace to its system. The draft-eligible sophomore has had a terrific season for the Tigers, going 11-1 with a 2.72 ERA and 128 strikeouts in 115 2-3 innings.
Kansas City went with University of San Francisco right-hander Kyle Zimmer, a converted third baseman, with the No. 5 overall pick.
The Dons' ace went just 5-3, but had a 2.85 ERA with 104 Ks and only 17 walks in 88 1-3 innings. He threw consecutive shutouts during one stretch.
"He was the No. 1 pitcher on our board," said Lonnie Goldberg, the Royals' director of scouting. "I think everyone should know that. He's the guy we wanted."