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  • Carlos Correa

    Brian McTaggart ‏@brianmctaggart
    Carlos Correa has reached 25 career homers quicker than any SS in history. He did it in 101 games. Next is Garciaparra in 134.
    Angel Verdejo Jr. ‏@ahverdejo
    #Astros' Carlos Correa youngest SS to reach 25 career HRs
    Aaron Gleeman @AaronGleeman
    Most homers by a shortstop through 100 career games:
    23 Carlos Correa
    16 Nomar Garciaparra
    14 Alex Rodriguez
    14 Bobby Crosby
    13 Ernie Banks
    ESPN Stats & Info ‏@ESPNStatsInfo
    Carlos Correa (HOU): youngest player with a 4-hit, 2-HR game as a visitor against the Yankees since the first Yankee Stadium opened in 1923

    If you haven't been watching the Astros, you should,

    Even if you don't like baseball...

    This young man is that good.
    If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.

  • #2

    Carlos Correa is the most valuable player in baseball now

    Carlos Correa might not be the best player in baseball just yet, but he's almost certainly the most valuable. (And he might be the best player soon enough.)

    Every year, smarter writers than I come up with a "trade value ranking," in which players are ranked based on a combination of talent, production and salary. The lower the salary, the higher the ranking. Hank Aaron in his prime making $100,000 would be more valuable to a team than Hank Aaron in his prime making $25 million.

    For several years now, these writers could relax once they got to the top spot. They worked hard to get there, now take a breather. Type in "Mike Trout" with your toes while making a martini with your free hands. Here's Jonah Keri's list from March:

    Four years of this column, four years with Trout on top.

    And in Dave Cameron's recap of his last trade ranking, he wrote what we were all thinking:

    ... I look forward to doing this again next year. Who knows, maybe by then someone will challenge Mike Trout for the top spot. Okay, probably not, but hey, the fight for #2 will be interesting!

    It was Mike Trout years ago, it was Mike Trout before the season and it was going to be Mike Trout forever. He's the most amazing specimen of pure baseball since a teenage Alex Rodriguez, at least.

    It's time, though. I waited and waited and waited until the heat on this opinion came down to room temperature. Carlos Correa is the most valuable player in baseball.

    First, we'll belabor the point about what valuable means. This doesn't mean that Correa would win if he challenged Trout to an illegal unsanctioned WAR-off down by the docks. This isn't about who will help his team win a typical regular-season game more. It has a ton to do with salary. And that's kind of icky.

    It's just odd to celebrate a player because the system is rigged against him. No other professional sport makes its young stars wait so long to get paid their market value. Baseball shares far less revenue among its teams than other sports, but small-market teams can still compete because players like Correa subsidize them. And we're supposed to give the player credit for that? We're supposed to fold that into an omnibus ranking and hand out gold stars and blue ribbons? Please note that "Congratulations for being outstanding and underpaid in a system rigged against young players!" doesn't fit on a regular-sized cake.

    But, yeah, that's about right. Mike Trout makes a little over $16 million this year. He'll earn over $138 million over the next five seasons. He's probably still underpaid, considering he's already one of the greatest baseball players ever, but what's a few million among friends? Yet here's a brain teaser that probably won't keep you up at night. For the next five years, would you rather have ...
    • Mike Trout
    • Carlos Correa and Justin Upton
    You're thinking about it, at least. Or if Upton doesn't float your whistle or wet your boat, sub him out for Jordan Zimmermann. Or maybe you'd prefer to have Correa, Ben Zobrist and Yoenis Cespedes. Or Correa, with Dexter Fowler, Howie Kendrick and an extra $80 million to help lock up a young superstar in the future. With Trout, you get one of the greatest players of his, or any other, generation. With Correa you get a young star with that potential, but you also get scores of millions to help make your team better, too.

    Correa won't make much more than the major league minimum until he's arbitration-eligible after the 2018 season. He's under team control for a season longer than Trout. I was hoping to stretch this out and make a much longer argument, but that's about all you need to write. Trout will make star money soon. Correa will not. The two aren't that far apart in expected value, so the decision is obvious.

    Ah, that's the twist. No one should be close to Trout in expected value. It's possible to be a perennial MVP candidate on a Hall of Fame path -- say, Andrew McCutchen -- and not come all that close to Trout's peak. So why should we assume that Correa is even close based on a half-season of excellence? Here's the wins above replacement leaderboard for players through their age-23 season:
    1. Mike Trout, 38 WAR
    2. Ty Cobb, 36
    3. Ted Williams, 34
    4. Mel Ott, 31
    5. Ken Griffey Jr. 30
    6. Mickey Mantle, 30
    7. Alex Rodriguez, 28
    8. Al Kaline, 28
    9. Arky Vaughan, 27
    10. Rogers Hornsby, 27
    By this park- and era-adjusted metric, Trout was better than every inner-circle Hall of Famer below him. No player has been so consistent with the nine-win seasons since Barry Bonds, except Trout was building that portfolio at the same age Bonds was playing in Hawaii with Bud Bundy and Burk Goldthorn. In order to take an under-priced Correa over a $30 million Trout, you have to believe that Correa will come close to that kind of production.

    I'm a believer. Which is absurd, because this kind of player shouldn't come along so soon after the last one, but Correa also has the mix of nonsensical talent at a preternaturally young age. Consider the list of players to hit 20 homers or more before they turned 21:
    • Mel Ott
    • Ted Williams
    • Alex Rodriguez
    • Al Kaline
    • Mike Trout
    • Frank Robinson
    • Mickey Mantle
    • Tony Conigliaro
    • Vada Pinson
    • Carlos Correa
    • Orlando Cepeda
    • Bryce Harper
    • Bob Horner
    • Ken Griffey Jr.
    • Giancarlo Stanton
    • Willie Mays
    • Eddie Mathews
    Whittle that down to middle infielders.
    • Alex Rodriguez
    • Carlos Correa
    Whittle that down to players you might consider sharing a studio apartment with.
    • Carlos Correa
    If you think that's unfair, that Rodriguez's possible involvement with PEDs from an early age and general quirks shouldn't be held against him, it's still tremendous, brilliant company for Correa to be in. Just say it to yourself: The only other 20-year-old shortstop to do what Correa did last year was Alex Rodriguez.

    Correa is off to a hot start this year, but this isn't just a wild romp through the sample-size meadows. He's already one of the hitters opposing pitchers have given up trying to figure out, one of the more terrifying at-bats in baseball. He's, by all accounts, a player who is wise and composed beyond his years, not unlike Trout. He plays a mean shortstop and should for several years.

    And, yes, ugh, the salary counts more than it should. The Astros won't pay him nearly as much as Trout during that time, which means they can keep Dallas Keuchel, or do things like make qualifying offers to Colby Rasmus, or break the free agent market when they feel the time is appropriate. That part is why it's only mildly controversial to prefer Correa in a fake-GM sense.

    The next greatest argument is if you would take Correa in a hypothetical team-building draft if salaries and contracts weren't an issue. Trout still holds that crown for now, with Bryce Harper possibly nudging him aside with another MVP year. But Correa is already in that discussion, after being in the league less than a year. It's apparently a Golden Age of young superstars. Practice telling your kids just how much better it was back in our day.

    Until then, note that Carlos Correa is the most valuable player in baseball. Mike Trout had a good run, but it's time to take the crown away from him, mostly because he can afford to buy a larger, more impressive crown with the Angels' money.
    If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


    • #3
      Carlos Correa still searching for consistency for Astros
      ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Fairly or not, the preseason narrative surrounding Carlos Correa centered on the 21-year-old phenom's candidacy for American League MVP honors.

      The story of Correa's first full major league season is far from written, but through nearly a third of the schedule the reigning AL rookie of the year has yet to sustain a prolonged hot streak. His production through 200-plus plate appearances has not yet rivaled the top five at his position nor the two fellow franchise cornerstones who bat ahead of him in the Astros' lineup.

      "It's not been quite there yet," Correa said.

      Correa, whose expectations for himself are as high as those bestowed upon him, takes solace in his volume of hard-hit balls in recent games. Although his .310 batting average on balls in play does not portend bad luck over the sample size of the season to date, three of the five outs he made in Tuesday's 13-inning win against the Orioles alone came off his bat 100 mph or faster.

      Unfortunately placed line drives or not, Correa entered Saturday batting only .246 with a pedestrian .736 OPS that ranked well behind the marks set by Astros leadoff man George Springer (.843) and two-hole hitter Jose Altuve (.939).

      Incredibly, Correa has yet to record an extra-base hit against a left-handed pitcher (41 plate appearances) this season. His rate of strikeouts per plate appearance has spiked to 25.5 percent from 18.1 percent last year.

      Perhaps the shortstop's first seven-plus weeks serve as a reminder the face of the Astros is still less than a year removed from one of the most-anticipated major league arrivals in recent memory.

      "I've watched a guy who's continuing to learn the league," manager A.J. Hinch said. "The league has been a little harder on him. He's hit into some bad luck, and at this point of the season if it's eight or 10 or 15 at-bats of bad luck it can massively change the perception of someone's season.

      "I think for the most part, outside of batting average and an unfair expectation that he was going to dominate every single game that he plays, he's been a productive player."

      Advanced metrics tell part of the story. The rate at which Correa is making what's classified as hard contact has indeed improved from last year, to 36.8 percent from 32.9 percent according to Baseball Info Solutions, and he is actually swinging at 4.5 percent fewer pitches outside of the strike zone.

      So, what gives?

      Pitchers have pounded Correa with more fastballs on the inner portion of the strike zone. At times, close observers of the team have noted, he has appeared too passive in his approach, giving away pitches for strike one and putting himself in holes early in counts.

      Despite chasing less, Correa is actually making contact at a lower rate 75.9 percent this season compared to 81.2 last year, according to Baseball Info Solutions.

      He needed only his first 47 games to match his total of multi-strikeout performances of 15 from last season, in which he played 99 games.

      He struggled to nail down his timing for much of April, exemplified by the higher volume of pitches he fouled off, but has said he has felt better with his swing more recently.

      "I think he's a very selective hitter and sometimes might be too selective in trying to wait out the perfect pitch," Hinch said of Correa's heightened strikeout rate. "Teams have attacked him to try to get ahead of him with a free strike or with an on-the margin and on-the-corners (pitch).

      "His comfort with hitting at any point in the count has put him in some bad counts this season. I think as he matures and grows he'll learn when to hunt early-count fastballs or early-count strikes and maybe not wait all deep into the count until the pitcher's in control."

      Regarding the increase in strikeouts, Astros hitting coach Dave Hudgens said, "I don't see that as a real big alarm. That's something that can even out as the season goes on. What I like about him is he's taking his walks, he's not going out of the strike zone and he's squaring balls up. I look at those as encouraging signs."

      In a way, Correa's season has been emblematic of his team's - living up to lofty expectations for brief stretches but marred by inconsistency over more extended periods. The Astros are confident Correa's pace will pick up, just as they are their so-far last-place 2016 will turn around.

      "It's about trying to be consistent and I haven't been able to do that," Correa said. "So hopefully I can keep hitting the ball good and get some hits out of it."

      As he demonstrated through his 22 home runs last season, any swing could spark a power binge.
      Daren Willman ‏@darenw May 27
      Carlos Correa has 4 batted balls hit 113 MPH+.... 18 teams don't have that many.
      If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


      • #4
        I love Carlos, but he needs to learn how to hit. Dude is getting by mostly on pure physical talent at this point. He needs to go through the same thing Altuve is going through, learning to watch his pitches and work the pitcher instead of just hacking away. This attitude we have of just going up there and swinging at everything w/ no discipline worked for a bit, but it now hasn't worked for some time.

        We need a new philosophy on batting. Correa's upside is huge, but not like this. Teach the kid, that's our job.
        Why do people point toward their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point toward their hooha when asking where the bathroom is?


        • #5
          Judging by Sunday's game, he must be a fast learner! One for one, the winning home run.
          This year is last year's next year!!!


          • #6
            Jake Kaplan @jakemkaplan
            Today is Carlos Correa's 150th career regular season game.

            His 30 career homers are already the most for a SS through his first 150 games.
            If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


            • #7
              Originally posted by WaldovonPutz View Post
              Judging by Sunday's game, he must be a fast learner! One for one, the winning home run.
              I think maybe you misunderstood!!!
              Why do people point toward their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point toward their hooha when asking where the bathroom is?


              • #8
                Originally posted by ktex View Post
                I think maybe you misunderstood!!!
                Not at all! Did you think I was arguing with your post? Was just celebrating a nice play by Carlos with a little levity. lol
                This year is last year's next year!!!


                • #9

                  As future of franchise, Astros' Correa learns why fame can be fleeting
                  You walk through the clubhouse doors and it all looks so perfect: The Astros loose and easy, the morning after another victory.

                  You cut through a room that's beginning to buzz, find his locker and it's like nothing has changed at all.

                  A crisp, clean No. 1 jersey hangs tall. An oversized Texas state flag rests above the uniform that will soon be wrapped around the 21-year-old face of the Astros' franchise. A brown bat leans near cleats, stamped with four simple words that scream modern baseball potential at its peak: "Handcrafted for Carlos Correa."

                  Then the game is played and you're soon reminded this is 2016, not the awesome wonder of last year. The Astros blow another lead. They can't hit when they have to. And instead of Showrrea again doing something remarkable to silence the Texas Rangers, the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year sees his day suddenly end in crumpled-over pain.

                  The left ankle sprain Correa suffered Thursday in Arlington should only force him to miss a few games. But the sight of the 2012 No. 1 overall pick stuck to Globe Life Park's infield grass for two long minutes, then hobbling into the dugout while a winnable AL West contest was on the line, was the strongest evidence to date that 2016 just hasn't worked out for the team that once lived off magic and the kid who's supposed to create it.

                  I'll get to Correa's highly promising Hall of Fame-pace numbers in a minute - Wednesday marked one full year in The Show for the Puerto Rico native. But these names are more telling two months into the Astros' biggest season in a decade: Jonathan Villar, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts.

                  Those four athletes and about six other shortstops have been better than a three-hole hitter some insisted was a serious MVP candidate when World Series dreams serenaded the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla. And the young man batting a disappointing .256, with the second-most strikeouts (68) among players at his position, is aware he should be doing more during a time when his frustrating club needs him more than ever.

                  Personal disappointment

                  "I'm not pleased with what I've done this year. I feel like I can bring a lot more to the table," said Correa, who has only five homers after blasting three in the Astros' first two games this year.

                  Correa also said this, capturing the poise and professionalism of a 6-4, 215-pounder whose inner strength is infinitely more impressive when you're around him up close.

                  "Mentally, I'm very strong. I don't let it get to me that easily. It's a mind game. It's about staying mentally strong for 162 games and finding ways to be successful."

                  If you've devoted your non-work life to a pastime or spent your youth poring over the backs of baseball cards, you knew on first glance that Correa has "it." If you wasted a half-decade waiting for the Astros to get their big league act back together, you've known ever since Correa went 1.1 that he was supposed to be The One.

                  Which is why these ridiculous figures are much more essential than a two-month tryout of the average-player life.
                  Correa: .271 average, 30 homers, 31 doubles 100 RBIs.

                  Derek Jeter: .309, nine, 26, 76.

                  Cal Ripken Jr.: .259, 23, 20, 77.

                  Ernie Banks: .280, 21, 20, 85.
                  That's after 160 career games for each. That's why you obsessed over cardboard backs when you were a kid and can't forget Captain Correa is just 21.

                  "I'm proud of how he's handling everything," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We have to remember not to take for granted the fact that he's only a year into a career that could last a really long time. We've got to let that play out and give him some breathing room to learn and mature and develop, like most 21-year-olds."

                  Forever adjusting

                  If 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel's upside-down 3-8 mark and whopping 5.44 ERA represents the shock of the Astros' April swoon, Correa's two-month plateau is the overall disappointment of 2016 in the flesh.

                  The Astros (30-34) should be better than this. He knows that he should be, too.

                  After smacking 22 long balls and driving in 68 runs in just 387 at-bats last season, Correa is just 10 strikeouts away from his 2015 total in 153 fewer at-bats. Pitchers are attacking him slightly differently - more fastballs, less off-speed offerings - and he's missing more of both. But it's not like the shortstop whose face is plastered throughout Minute Maid Park is lost at the plate.

                  "It's been a little bit of an adjustment - I make adjustments every single day. It's been a rough start for me. But, obviously, my confidence is still up there," Correa said. "I'm not going to cry about it. I'm not going to cry about hitting the ball hard right at people, about striking out."

                  Because of how special Correa's four-month ascension was in 2015 - two stinging homers in Game 4 of the ALDS against Kansas City cemented his young national name - it's easy to forget the initial predictions that followed his minor league journey: .270 hitter, 15-20 home runs a year, 70 RBIs, solid glove.

                  As a 14-year major league veteran who watched hit-everything Vladimir Guerrero rise through Montreal's system, Geoff Blum was skeptical about the overwhelming hype that engulfed Correa's debut. Then the sparkling talent took over, the kid looked smoother than almost everyone on the field and Blum started thinking the same crazy, big thoughts we all had: "It's very easy for me to see him being in the Hall of Fame."

                  "The first thing is you're a little annoyed, because you do understand how hard it actually is to be at this level," joked the Astros TV analyst. "And the second question is, why did God give him so much? What did he do so right?"

                  This season, Blum sees a more cautious and passive Correa in the box. During an era when walks are encouraged and on-base percentage is clearly more valuable than old-school BA, Correa has regularly fallen behind, then tried to swing his way out of holes.

                  "He's in a part of the lineup where he's hitting three-hole. I think the expectation is still to produce," Blum said. "He needs to be a little bit more aggressive."

                  Game-changing hits have looked more like personal relief than pure joy for Correa - a sudden reminder of what he and the Astros can do when everything clicks. His preseason prediction of proudly carrying all the weight hoisted upon his young shoulders - sponsorships, charities, being baseball's next Mike Trout or Bryce Harper - could be followed by a brief vacation as MLB holds its annual All-Star Game.

                  But Rangers manager Jeff Banister sees athletic confidence and grace personified: "What makes him so unique is his own talent."

                  He's a keeper

                  Two off months will amount to nothing if Correa's career plays out like it should. And the Astros, whose to-be-determined future is built around a 21-year-old shortstop who hits third, will take the first full year of No. 1 without thinking twice.

                  Correa has been good. There is plenty of time left to be great.

                  "I hope he's here forever," Hinch said. "I mean, you get a player like him that starts his career with an organization, there's a great appeal to him potentially being a longer-term fixture. He's got all the ingredients that you would ask out of a player like that. So I'm glad he's ours."
                  If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


                  • #10
                    Baseball Tonight @BBTN
                    Carlos Correa is 21 and has 4 career walk-off hits.

                    Derek Jeter had 7 walk-off hits in his career.
                    If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


                    • #11
                      Adam Wexler @awexlerKPRC
                      #Astros @TeamCJCorrea named AL player of the week, 1st time he's won the award.

                      6 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1.282 OPS (.407 OBP/.875 SLG)
                      If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WaldovonPutz View Post
                        Not at all! Did you think I was arguing with your post? Was just celebrating a nice play by Carlos with a little levity. lol
                        Most excellent!!!!

                        I'd love to see Carlos become a smart hitter, watching the count and working pitchers, not swinging at bad pitches. Dude is already good, he can be even better.
                        Why do people point toward their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point toward their hooha when asking where the bathroom is?


                        • #13
                          Correa in a groove with All-Star Game worthy June
                          Astros SS slugs 13th HR, ties team lead with 47 RBIs
                          Brian McTaggart /
                          ANAHEIM -- Carlos Correa has become a force in the Astros' lineup.

                          What had been somewhat of a subpar sophomore season for the dynamic shortstop -- based on lofty expectations -- has heated up with the summer temperatures, and Correa carried the Astros offensively Tuesday night by going 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBIs in a 7-1 win over the Angels.

                          The reigning American League Player of the Week is hitting .355 with a .432 on-base percentage, four homers and 14 RBIs in the last eight games, during which the Astros are 7-1. He's tied with George Springer for the team lead in RBIs with 47.

                          "He's got a little burst of energy the last 10, 12 days and he's hunting pitches and his productivity has skyrocketed," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's done a lot of damage with the pitches to hit. He's got a little bounce in his step, obviously, and that comes with confidence and contributing and things like that. He's playing great."

                          Correa said he's been able to drive the ball really well and take his walks, keying his success. He's hitting .385 with four homers and 15 RBIs in eight games against the Angels this year. He set the tone Tuesday by hitting a three-run homer in the first inning off Tim Lincecum.

                          "Obviously, when we score early in the game, we have the most success and we give our starting rotation more room for error," Correa said. "Obviously, they want to be able to shut people down, but it's better when you have a comfortable lead."

                          Correa's homer was the 34th of his career as a shortstop, which puts him one homer shy of tying Adam Everett's team record for the most home runs at the position. Correa figures to soar past that number this season, and nearing the halfway point he could be on his way to the kind of year everybody was expecting from the 21-year-old.
                          If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


                          • #14
                            Adam Wexler @awexlerKPRC
                            #Astros @TeamCJCorrea has 26 RBI since June 20 (24 games). That's 2nd most in MLB to Pujols (Pujols had 6 RBI yesterday).
                            If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.


                            • #15
                              Jordan Ray @JordanLRay
                              It took Adam Everett 635 games to reach 35 home runs as a shortstop.

                              It took Correa 191 to get 36.

                              Correa is now Astro's all time HR leader from the SS position.
                              If you're not following the Astros, you are doing Houston sports wrong.