Carlos Correa free agent profile

Selected first overall in the 2012 MLB Draft, has lived up to the hype during his seven seasons with the Astros, earning the '15 American League Rookie of the Year Award, making two All-Star teams and helping Houston win the '17 World Series, as well as AL pennants in ‘19 and '21. Now, the 27-year-old is part of a star-studded class of free-agent shortstops.

Follow all of the latest Correa rumors here.

Here’s what you need to know about Correa:

FAST FACTS
Birthdate: Sept. 22, 1994 (Age 27 in 2022)
Primary position: SS
Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 220 lbs.
Bats/throws: Right/right
Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico
School(s): Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (HS)
Drafted: 1st round (1st), 2012, by Astros
MLB debut: June 8, 2015
Qualifying offer: Received one; declined

THE NUMBERS
2021: .279/.366/.485 (131 OPS+), 26 HR, 7.2 WAR* in 148 G
Career: .277/.356/.481 (127 OPS+), 133 HR, 34.1 WAR in 752 G
*Per Baseball-Reference

STAT TO KNOW
Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani led the Majors in bWAR when you combine his production on both sides of the ball, but solely among position players, Correa reigned supreme. With 7.2 bWAR on the year, Correa slightly edged Marcus Semien (7.1 WAR) and Juan Soto (7.0 WAR) for the big league lead, becoming the first shortstop to lead all MLB position players in WAR since Alex Rodriguez in 2000.

QUESTION MARK
Perhaps the biggest knock against Correa is his inconsistent offensive production on a year-to-year basis. After recording a .349 wOBA or higher in each of his first three seasons, Correa has finished at .313, .380, .309 and .364, respectively in the past four years (MLB average was .314 in 2021), though it’s fair to note that one of his “down” years was the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Another concern is his injury history, as he missed 192 games across 2017-19 and dealt with multiple back issues in that time. That said, Correa has managed to play in 206 of a possible 222 regular-season games since the beginning of 2020.

He’s already one of the best players ever from Puerto Rico
From Roberto Clemente to Orlando Cepeda to Ivan Rodriguez to Carlos Beltrán, Puerto Rico has a rich history of producing top baseball talent, and Correa has carried on that lineage. The first player from Puerto Rico to be selected first overall in the MLB Draft, Correa already ranks 13th among Puerto Rican-born position players in career WAR. His 34.1 WAR is the highest total for any Puerto Rican-born player through an age-26 season.

He’s an elite defender
Correa doesn’t have the hardware to show it (yet), but he’s one of the best defensive players in the game. In fact, he tied for the MLB lead with Ryan McMahon and Jacob Stallings in defensive runs saved (21) in 2021 and led all players in defensive WAR (2.9). Correa also has recorded +17 outs above average over the past two years, according to Statcast, which is better than any other shortstop entering free agency this offseason and fifth best at the position overall.

He made advancements as a hitter in 2021
Correa may be seven years into his big league tenure, but he’s still progressing at the plate. The shortstop was more disciplined than ever in 2021, posting the lowest chase rate (24.1%) of his career. That was down from 31.9% in 2020, and his 7.8-point drop year over year was the 2nd largest in MLB behind Astros teammate Yuli Gurriel (8.3). Always a strong fastball hitter, Correa struggled against offspeed and breaking pitches across 2018-20, hitting .218 with 12 home runs and a .372 slugging percentage against such pitches in that span, but he was much better on non-fastballs in ‘21, posting a .264 average with 11 home runs and a .471 slugging percentage.

He continues to burnish his postseason resume
While it must be acknowledged that current players have a chance to play more playoff rounds than those who played before the Wild Card era, Correa’s postseason numbers are nonetheless impressive. His 18 career postseason home runs tie him for seventh on the all-time list, while his 59 RBIs rank sixth.

Another No. 1 pick set to cash in
Correa could land a deal north of $200 million this offseason, especially after Francisco Lindor inked a 10-year, $341 million extension with the Mets prior to the 2021 season. If he does sign a contract worth $200 million or more, it would mean that the No. 1 pick in five out of six Drafts from 2007-12 reached that plateau. David Price (2007), Stephen Strasburg (‘09), Bryce Harper (‘10) and Gerrit Cole (‘11) previously did it.

He’s a rarity at the position
Much like 6-foot-4 Corey Seager, who can also become a free agent after 2021, Correa’s height makes him a rare breed at shortstop. Through 2021, Correa is one of four players listed at 6-foot-4 or taller to play 100 career games at the position, and one of three (along with Seager and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.) to last at least 500 games.

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