Star shortstop Carlos Correa, who was at the center of the Houston Astros’ autograph theft scandal during the 2017 season and was the hottest commodity in free agency in 2021-2022, is struggling mightily in the first year of his long-term free agent contract.
Correa, who became a free agent following his team’s World Series loss to Houston in the 2021 season, made comments disparaging New York Yankees legendary shortstop Derek Jeter’s Gold Glove win in a market that was loaded with star shortstops like Seager and Baez.
The fallout from those comments, coupled with his exorbitant asking price, caused his popularity in the market to plummet, and he eventually signed a three-year, $150 million ($134 million) deal with the Minnesota Twins with an annual opt-out.
After a solid 2022 season with 22 home runs and an .834 OPS, Correa returned to free agency and appeared to be on the verge of agreeing to a massive 13-year, $350 million deal with San Francisco, but medical tests revealed an ankle issue, and the New York Mets attempted an unprecedented hijack with a 12-year, $315 million deal that fell apart shortly thereafter.
Correa, who has been the hottest commodity in free agency for the past two years, negotiated with his former team, Minnesota, and agreed to a six-year, $200 million deal that could have been worth up to 10 years and $270 million ($34.5 billion).
However, in the first season of his long-term deal, he has been a disappointment, hitting just .232 with 12 home runs, 45 RBIs, a wRC+ of 95 and a fWAR of 1.1, which has left the Minnesota organization and fans concerned.
Plummeting performance against fastballs, going from top shortstop to mediocre hitter
Up until last year, Correa had a career OPS of .906 against fastballs, one of the highest among all major league hitters, but this season his OPS against that pitch has plummeted to .680. The biggest reason for this deterioration against fastballs is that Correa’s ability to react to them has dropped significantly.
Prior to this season, Correa had a career .732 OPS against fastballs over 95 mph (153 km/h) and an OPS of .863 over the last two seasons, so he was not only not a weak hitter against fastballs over his career, but he had actually been strong against them as of late.
However, in 2023, his performance against fastballs plummeted, with his OPS dropping to 0.355 and his ability to respond to them dropping significantly
Disgraced Line Drive Hitter Needs to Reduce Launch Angle Deviation
Originally, Correa was one of the hitters who generated sharp line drives (batted balls with a launch angle of 20 degrees or less and a batted ball velocity of 95 mph or more) most often among active hitters.
The overall quality of his line drives has also been among the best in the league over his career, as he ranks among the league leaders in both slugging percentage (0.685) and on-base percentage (1.078) on line drives.
This season, however, Correa’s struggles against fastballs have led to a greater variance in the launch angle of his line drives, which has led to a decline in the quality of one of his biggest strengths.
Not only that, but his overall approach at the plate has changed dramatically, with fewer fly balls and more ground balls, and his sweet spot percentage, which is the percentage of balls with an ideal launch angle (8 to 32 degrees), is at its lowest level since his pro debut at 31%.
The increased launch angle variance is also a major contributor to Correa’s lowest batting average (.232) since his ML debut, so he’ll need to reduce this variance to rebound as one of the league’s best shortstops.바카라사이트
Currently, Correa’s team, Minnesota, sits in first place in the American League Central, two games behind second-place Cleveland. The overall strength of the AL Central is not as competitive as the rest of the division, so if Correa rebounds as an offense-driven shortstop, the team could easily make the postseason.
Can Correa make the San Francisco and New York Mets regret cutting his contract with a late-season surge? With a .849 OPS and 59 RBI in postseason play, it will be interesting to see if Correa can overcome the worst slump of his career and lead Minnesota to the postseason.