Astros: Carlos Correa has been an on-base machine lately

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa has been on a tear at the plate.

This is one of the most important seasons Carlos Correa will ever have, mainly because his performance will have a huge impact on what kind of contract he gets in free agency this offseason. The Houston Astros shortstop is putting together a strong campaign, and lately he’s been helped by a discerning batting eye.

Correa has drawn 10 total walks in his past five games and 18 walks in his past 18 games. His .367 on-base percentage would be the second-best of his career, trailing only his excellent 2017 season when he had a .315 batting average. His 11.8 percent walk rate would be a career high, and his 15.4 percent strikeout rate would be a career low.

Through Monday’s game, Correa had amassed exactly the same number of plate appearances he had in the 2020 regular season. His numbers are better across the board, but notably he’s drawn 10 more walks and struck out 15 fewer times in 221 plate appearances. In his past 18 games, he’s had twice as many walks as strikeouts.

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Upward Trajectory?

Correa hit .303/.352/.495 in April before enduring a rough nine-game slump in early May that saw him collect only two hits. He’s rebounded to hit .373 since then, no doubt assisted by the improved plate discipline. He’s reached base safely in 18 of his past 21 games and has played his usual sterling defense at shortstop.

Consistency has largely eluded the former No. 1 overall pick throughout his big league career. His OPS totals from 2017-2020 were .941, .728, .926, and .709. He’s only played in more than 110 games once in his six seasons prior to this one, with recurring back injuries seemingly cause for concern. He’s going to get paid this winter, but the question is how much.

If Correa can stay healthy this season and continue playing well, the fact that he’ll play the first year of a new deal at age 27 should ensure he gets a massive payday. That would make a return to the Astros highly unlikely, though. So enjoy this while you can, Houston fans. Correa might just be playing himself out of the team’s comfortable price range.

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