CHICAGO (AP) Carlos Correa was sitting in first class on his flight Monday, next to two people reading the newspaper. They were studying a story about him, in fact, and happened to glance over and recognize the top Houston Astros prospect.
''They looked at me like, `Are you this guy?' and I'm like `Yes.' They just started talking to me and saying how glad they were to meet me and all that stuff,'' Correa said. ''That hit me real hard.''
At 20, the youngest player in the majors was set to make his big league debut Monday night. Promoted from Triple-A Fresno, Correa was playing shortstop and batting sixth against Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale.
Correa was the top overall pick in the 2012 draft. Houston leads the AL West despite four straight losses.
Joining a team that's done well this season will help him, he said.
''It's great. A team that's winning. Winning is fun,'' Correa said. ''It's the best thing ever, so when you come to a team that's already winning, you just want to help contribute and it's not as much pressure on you because the team is a great team, so you've just got to go out there and just be yourself.''
Correa was hitting a combined .335 with 10 home runs, 21 doubles, 44 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in Triple-A and Double-A.
When he was drafted three years ago, Houston was coming off a 106-loss season.
Now, the Astros are one of baseball's best surprises and leading their division, and Correa's ascension could be seen as another sign of the organization's progress.
''We're continuing to try to move this organization forward,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ''We're happy with what we're doing and proud of the group that we have.''
The players Correa joins were happy to have him.
''I'm really proud of him,'' second baseman Jose Altuve said. ''I know he's a guy that's going to work hard, that's going to help the team and he's going to do everything he can to be good and get the team better.''
Correa said Altuve gave him a big hug.
''When I got here, I just felt welcome,'' Correa said. ''That's how you want to feel when you walk in a clubhouse. I felt more than welcome and just happy to be here.''
The Astros optioned right-hander Jake Buchanan to Triple-A Fresno and infielder Matt Dominguez was designated for assignment.