Here’s an obvious statement for everyone: The Astros need a healthy Carlos Correa to reach their full potential in 2019.
Back on June 25th, 2018, Carlos Correa went 1-for-4 against the Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park. He was slashing .268/.352/.480 with a 128 wRC+ at the time, which wasn’t too shabby for the Astros’ young shortstop. The hope was Correa would start hitting even better as the summer heated up. Well, thanks to a persistent back injury, the then-23 year old would not appear in another game for the Astros until August 10th.
Considered a possible MVP candidate heading into last season, Correa concluded his disappointing 2018 campaign with a final .239/.323/.405 slash line with a 101 wRC+. However, Correa only had a 45 wRC+ following his return in August, which is the reason why his cumulative season numbers took such a sharp drop. By the numbers alone, one can easily summarize Correa wasn’t his usual self. He did seldom look comfortable at the plate, although his defense didn’t suffer to the same extent.
One of the primary hopes surrounding the team this offseason is centered on Correa’s back getting the rest it needs. Based on his comments on Friday, it looks like the rest is helping.
For the Astros and Correa himself, this offseason development is a welcomed one. If he performs like has shown in the past (pre-2018), then I think Correa could be a possible MVP candidate in 2019. Let’s don’t forget how talented he is.
Steamer projections over at FanGraphs currently shows Correa with a 126 wRC+ and a 4.2 fWAR next season. If the former first overall pick is relatively healthy all season, I think he can reasonably exceed those numbers.
Of course, those back injuries are always difficult to project. It’s possible that test is all Correa needed, and he’s good to go. At the same time, there are plenty of cautionary tales. One notable example: David Wright.
Simply put, the Astros need a healthy Correa. And Correa needs a healthy season as he has a couple of arbitration-eligibile seasons remaining. The 2019 will help set a course that’ll help determine both parties future fortunes.