After winning Rookie of the Year in 2015, many believed that Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa was in for a big year last season. He failed to live up to expectations, but could Correa turn things around in 2017?
When last season began, Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa was one of the most highly discussed players in baseball. He broke onto the scene in mid-June of the 2015 campaign and never looked back, hitting 22 home runs while accumulating a 4.1 bWAR over only 99 games.
Correa beat out the Indians’ Francisco Lindor by a sizable margin for AL Rookie of the Year honors and even received a pair of MVP votes. The Astros’ shortstop and 2012 No. 1 overall pick was only 21 years old heading into the offseason and clearly had a very bright future ahead of him.
By the time April rolled around, Correa was widely considered a legitimate MVP candidate. While he was able to put together a strong season, however, not many analysts were still singing the same tune in September.
On the year, Correa hit .274/.361/.451 with 20 home runs and 96 RBIs in 153 games. For a player his age that’s certainly an impressive season, but he fell well short of expectations and failed to garner a single MVP vote.
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The biggest concern in Correa’s game was his decline in home run production. According to baseball-reference, 15.6% of fly balls off Correa’s bat in 2015 landed in the outfield seats. That number dropped to 10.2% last season, an alarming drop-off for a player of his caliber.
Expecting Correa to take a step forward next season is by no means an outlandish notion. His hard-hit ball rate (data courtesy of Fangraphs) actually increased from 2015 to 2016 by 4.3% while his soft-hit rate dropped by 4.5%.
He’s still one of the youngest players in baseball, as he just turned 22 in September. Perennial MVP candidates Mike Trout and Josh Donaldson aren’t going away anytime soon, but Correa could easily push himself right up there with them if he is able to regain his power stroke.
Jose Altuve made all the Houston Astros’ headlines this season, and rightfully so. His claim to the title of best player in Houston may be short-lived, however. Correa’s always had the potential, and there were flashes of brilliance during his Rookie of the Year campaign. It may be only a matter of time before he shows everyone what he’s truly capable of.