MINNEAPOLIS - It would be disingenuous to infer that Carlos Correa enjoyed his coming-out party at last June's 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla.
Correa, the top-ranked Puerto Rican shortstop prospect and the No. 1 overall selection by the Houston Astros in this month's MLB First-Year Player Draft, actually made his "official" debut in the United States about six months earlier at the 2011 PG World Showcase, which was also held in Fort Myers.
But it was his experience at the 2011 PG National Showcase that he held closest to his heart.
"I know that this is one of the main events here with Perfect Game and when I received the invitation I accepted to come here because I want to show my skills and how I can play the game," the then-16 year old Correa told Perfect Game a year ago, in what was possibly his first interview with a reporter from the mainland United States. "I'm very happy to be here."
The calendar has turned. A whole new group of top-ranked prospects - this year from the high school class of 2013 - will be at the Metrodome and down on Mall of America Field for the 2012 Perfect Game National Showcase Thursday through Monday (June 14-18).
The event has been held every year since 2001 and is recognized as the most prestigious showcase in all of amateur baseball. More than 100 PG National Showcase alumni have made it to the Major Leagues and almost 1,300 have been drafted. Those who didn't sign a professional contract inevitably went on to play college baseball at some level, most likely NCAA Division I.
Just this month, 22 2011 Perfect Game National Showcase alumni were scooped up in the first round or supplemental first round in the MLB draft, including No. 1 overall selection Correa. For a complete list of all the 2012 draft picks who were at the 2011 National Showcase, please click here.
This year's PG National includes at least 260 top-level prospects, most of whom will be playing in either college or professionally by the fall of 2013.
With the PG Junior National Showcase wrapping up its two-day run on Wednesday (June 13) right in front of the PG National, it's certain that hundreds of MLB scouts and front office personnel, and college coaches and recruiters will be in attendance at the Metrodome this week.
It's also a pretty safe bet that most of the top guys in the class of 2013 here this week will follow in the footsteps of the first-rounders taken this year, and the two rosters for this year's Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings on Aug. 12 will be mostly comprised by players who are at this week's National. All 10 of the top-ranked national prospects in the class of 2013 will be here, including No. 1 right-hander Clinton Hollon out of Woodford County (Ky.) High School.
The other top-fives are No.2 outfielder Austin Meadows (Grayson, Ga.); No. 3 shortstop Oscar Mercado (Tampa, Fla.); No. 4 outfielder Justin Williams (Houma, La.) and No. 5 shortstop Christian Rivera (Fullerton, Calif.)
Just being invited to this event is enough to make a young prospect dream big dreams. The alumni list not only can claim 100 players who went on to play in the big leagues and the nearly 1,300 that have been drafted, but more 2,150 have made college commitments. And that is all since 2001.
The alumni list from the 2004 National Showcase held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., includes current big-league stars like Buster Posey, Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton, Ike Davis, Colby Rasmus and Cameron Maybin. The first National Showcase in 2001 at Tropicana Field exposed the talents of Prince Fielder, Alex Gordon and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, among others.