Out of all of the Astros position players, Carlos Correa has had one of the slower starts to the 2017 season.
The Astros lineup is built upon three cornerstones: Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa. And while Altuve and Springer have each provided a spark to the offense at various points, we haven’t seen Correa take his turn. Well, he may be very shortly.
It is no secret, though, that Correa had a rather sluggish start to the season. Some attribute this to his participation in the World Baseball Classic. Others will blame the hit-by-pitch on his hand over Easter weekend. One seems more logical than the other to me. Regardless, the numbers tell the tale.
Statistics in April: .233/.309/.349, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 85 wRC+, .116 ISO, .290 BABIP in 86 at-bats
Compared to the first month of his 2016 season, this year’s Correa seems more like an imposter. But this is baseball and strange things occur from year to year. Like Correa’s injured hand that affected him even after he returned. Anyway, Correa did not factor into the majority of the Astros success in the first month.
But enter the month of May and we are beginning to witness the return of the Carlos Correa that we have enjoyed watching since his debut. Sure, the sample size in May is relatively small, however, the numbers have looked much better.
Statistics in May through 5/6: .400/.444/.680, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 217 wRC+, .280 ISO, .429 BABIP in 25 at-bats
One area that could be used to indicate Correa’s improvement has been his exit velocity. While a high exit velocity does not always translate into success, it can be a puzzle piece in analyzing a player’s performance. For example, which is courtesy of Baseball Savant and Statcast, Correa has had ten batted balls record an exit velocity over 100 MPH in May before yesterday’s game. Another four were recorded higher than 90 MPH.
When you examine the time preceding his hand injury and his eventual return, you noticed by scrolling through the event log that his exit velocity higher than 90 MPH were becoming less frequent. It wasn’t until the tail end of April that you see the exit velocity spike once again and this has appeared to carry over into May.
All of that said, Correa has started to resemble the key offensive cog that the Astros need him to be in this lineup. Without an effective Correa, the offense cannot reach its full potential. And while the pitching staff has held up relatively well, the lineup will need to continue to produce at a high level all season long. Correa’s and his contributions will go a long way in determining which outcome takes place.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball Savant and Statcast**