Correa’s return would have a trickle down effect.
Prospects such as Jeremy Peña and Pedro Leon have been considered possible front runners to replace Correa. If he returns they’ll now have to wait for their shot, but realistically both could use another year of seasoning in the minors to get a better picture of what kind of players they are.
But a Correa return also allows for some flexibility and could address two needs at once. While Leon has been getting more playing time at shortstop, his natural position is center field, another hole on the Astros offense.
While Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers did a fine job holding the position down, Leon is a highly rated prospect out of Cuba who’s ceiling is all-star potential. If Leon could go back to playing center field with Correa at short and hits like he’s projected to be able to hit, he could be up by summertime and the Astros already potent offense would somehow get more lethal.
It also allows even more lee-way for Martin Maldonado’s offensive deficiencies as catcher. He would pretty much be the only offensive liability on the team at that point but it would be a small price to pay for what he provides defensively and with pitch calling.
It doesn’t hurt that the top Astros prospect is a catcher who can hit so if for whatever reason the tag team of Maldonado and Jason Castro isn’t working Korey Lee could be a boost and it would be a formidable one through nine lineup.
This is all of course if Pedro Leon and Korey Lee play up to a level they’re projected to, but the idea of Correa at short, Leon in center and Lee at catcher all producing alongside Altuve, Brantley, Bregman, Gurriel, Alvarez and Tucker? Even if Correa is only here for one year, imagine that lineup performing up to its potential.