Carlos Correa: He’s the best player on the market
Before we get into the personalities and concerns most of you have, let’s talk about the type of player we’re looking at that is available. Carlos Correa turned 28 in September and has been one of the best players in baseball since he stepped onto the field for Houston back in 2015. One of the game’s very best defenders at the shortstop position, Correa is also an underrated slugger. With comparisons to Alex Rodriguez when he first came up, Correa has never matched the power that Seattle ARod showed but is a complete all-around hitter.
Over the course of his seven full seasons (excluding the 2020 Covid season), Correa has consistently been at an all-star level, hitting a slash line of .280/.357/.479. He has averaged over 25 doubles and 21 home runs a season while posting an OPS+ of 129 for his career. For those that don’t follow the numbers as much, OPS+ is one of the most accurate ways to put a value on a player offensively. The average hitter posts a 100 OPS+, so Correa has been 29% better than the average SS.
Many people questioned if Correa leaving the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park, as well as the Astros “culture”, for the Minnesota Twins and their pitcher-friendly ballpark would affect his bat. All Correa did was post a slash line of .291/.366/.467 for a 140 OPS+, as well as matching his career power numbers.
For reference, J.P. Crawford posted exactly an OPS+ of 100 this season. Correa was 40% better offensively than Crawford this season. While he has historically struggled at T-Mobile Park, I think his success in Minnesota is more of an indicator of success than his struggles in Seattle.
Correa has an all-star bat that has received MVP votes in the past. As great as that bat is, it almost pales in comparison to the type of defender Correa is. For three straight seasons, Correa has been a finalist for the Gold Glove Award. He won the award in 2021, as well as the Platinum Glove, awarded to the best overall defensive player in each league. Considering his size, he has incredible range and has ranked 3rd, 5th, and 6th over the last three years for arm strength from shortstops.
When I look at Correa, I see the best overall player on the free-agent market. He doesn’t have Judge’s power or Turner’s speed, but when you consider the hitter overall, as well as his defensive dominance, he’s the real deal.