No doubt 2020 has been full of tumult and chaos, and I’m just talking about Kayne. Obviously sports has seen its fair share of craziness too, with baseball leading the way with a shortened season, producing outcomes thus far that could be considered, well… I mean the Padres have a chance to get to the playoffs by averaging 18 grand slams a game… End of the world as we know it. Regardless, on a player-focused level, there has been plenty of randomness that will never settle based on the lack of innings and at-bats available. There simply isn’t enough time to settle, regress, explode, and while I’m all for exploding, hopefully via combustion because why not, we can at least gauge where a player is at and what might happen next season (if there is one!). Last week, we covered Josh Bell and found reasons why a resurgence was due, and by channeling my dark wizardry powers (typing I guess), that post was confirmed prescient. Can the same be done for Carlos Correa and his apparent power outage? Or will it take Astros fans bringing their favorite trash can lids to the game in solidarity that will spur him out of this funk? Spoiler alert: I’m a fan of the funk.
While Carlos Correa has had consistent and long-standing issues staying healthy with his last season playing over 110 games being in 2016, no doubt this factor will always play a part in his value and production. But after managing 21 homeruns in just 321 plate appearances in 2019, there was certainly a cause here for jubilation. Granted, he had always shown good, if not great power potential, hitting over 20 homeruns four out of five career seasons and producing a slugging percentage higher than .500 in three of those same five years. A perennial 275/350/480 career producer, even missing on average 50 games a year didn’t dampen his strong presence at the plate. Simply put, we knew who he was and simply baked that into his value. But now that we’re 50 games into this pandemic-shortened season, Correa is currently sitting at four home runs total. For context, by the 50th game last year, Correa had already netted 11 and the season would end with a very interesting projection, that if he played 150+ games, a 40+ homerun season was in play. We aren’t forgetting the caveat for such an injury-prone player, but the power potential we saw seemed to be real, and perhaps part of his potential growth. Then enter 2020 and all its craziness, and you have a player who carries an ISO of .115. In 2019, it was .289. So what’s going on? Do we really need to start doing drum solo’s on trashcan lids? I’m glad you asked, because if you didn’t, there’s literally no one else here. Which leads me to wonder why I’m asking myself anything…
As mentioned, his ISO has cratered. And while I’m not too worried by his walk and strikeout rates, they have, after all, stayed close to his numbers from last season, the BABIP comparison is peculiar. The reasons will be apparent as we examine more of his profile, but always interesting to see a player who is struggling in someway at the plate and have it not be tied to their BABIP.
As mirrored in Correa’s ISO, his HR/FB are just as egregious. We knew there was a power outage, and it’s plainly seen here, he’s hitting more groundballs at the cost of putting the ball in the air, obviously contributing to his lack of power and most likely fueling his higher than normal BABIP number.
|YEAR||Soft %||Med %||Hard %|
Again, further confirmation that his power has taken a hiatus. There is some thought here that it isn’t all that bad. As you can see, while his Hard% has lowered substantially, none of it has really gone soft (tee hee), but is listed as Medium%. This could be caused by a few things, the first and easiest assumption is a lingering injury. But this could also be mechanical, maybe there’s something in his swing that’s causing him to miss his “spots”.
|YEAR||O-Swing %||Z-Swing %||Swing %||SwStr %||Zone %|
His plate discipline is pretty solid. Everything is in line with last year, sans an uptick with his swings inside the strike zone. Showing a bit more of an aggressive approach when receiving a potential strike, this could point to a player knowing that he isn’t producing power and trying to focus more on pitches he knows he can hit.
And that approach seems to be working, if only slightly. The more swings on pitches in the zone has provided a small boost with his contact in that zone. I’d gather that with his plate discipline still intact, his propensity to still be able to make contact at the same rate says that. So what’s going on? Almost 1,000 words into this post, and we still have the same question omni-present. Well, simply put, I don’t think anything is particularly wrong. Granted, he fouled a pitch off himself in a horrifying way (what isn’t horrifying with this guy injury-wise?) and the season is coming to close, so the take here is for the bigger outlook, but I think a larger sample would show that Correa is the player we always thought he was, and that’s not a good thing. What I mean to say is, Correa is the player before last season, not a guy who can hit 40+.
|YEAR||Topped %||Solid %||Barrel %|
And here’s the rub (rub me!), while the conclusions we made earlier are true, a larger sample size would help Correa obtain numbers closer to his career norms, we know now that his power outbreak last year was most likely a fluke. His Topped % has never been where it was in 2019, and while a player can adjust their approach through different means, it sure looks like he’s hitting the ball in about the same spot that he has the rest of career, putting the ball into the ground more than a power hitter would like. Add in the fact that his Solid % and Barrel % this year reflect his career more than 2019, well, the numbers say he is a perennial 275/350/480 and that’s how we described him early in this post.
So the bottom line is this: there’s really not enough time left this year for him to regress back to norms. That’s okay. If he can still start and produce with his new ankle ailment, which he’s doing, he’ll most likely just keep doing what he was doing. You’ll be able to make your own judgements with his role on your team, but moving forward, Carlos Correa, while still holding solid value, should not be expected to be someone he isn’t, and that’s an above average power threat. And though there’s a power outage this year, we should also respect the flipside, that he’s not really the player we’re seeing right now. Buy the Correa you know, not the one you don’t I guess is the lesson here.
And look at that, I made it through an entire post without using a Korean pun for a guy named Correa.
They call me: hero.
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him @jaywrong.