What a start it has been for the Houston Astros. As of Thursday morning, they are currently 14-7, which is the best record in the American League, with a +15 run differential, which is currently the fifth best in all of major league baseball.
Most of the stars on the team are performing, as guys like Jose Altuve and Dallas Keuchel are delivering in a big way, while others like Yuli Gurriel and Nori Aoki are making the bottom of the order lethal at the moment. The one main player that has really struggled this year is who I picked to be the Astros team MVP, Carlos Correa.
I felt pretty confident that Correa would be the team’s best player, and a potential MVP candidate in the American League this season. Obviously there is still a ton of time for those things to happen, as there hasn’t even been a full month of baseball and we are still in the small sample size phase. With that said, it hasn’t been a very good start.
Even with his last three games, where he is 4 for 13 with a home run and a double, he is currently slashing .217/.304/.319 with a .276 wOBA and a 78 wRC+. There are a lot of issues that he has dealt with since last year, and adjustments still have not been made.
Going back to last year, he has been much worse versus left-handed pitchers rather than right handed pitchers, where his split against lefties is .236/.345/.385 with a 101 wRC+ (which is just about average), while against righties, his split is .287/.366/.473 with a 129 wRC+ (much better).
The only real positives against lefties is he strikes out less and walks more, but he is still getting on at a lower rate, so does that really mean much?
It is hard to really take a look at the split this year as he is currently doing better against lefties, he is still not good against either, and he isn’t going to play this badly throughout the season, so more time is needed to actually get a real idea on how he is doing against both.
Another thing noticed just by watching games is his lack of pulling the ball on pitches (mainly fastballs) over the middle of the plate. He typically hits the ball towards center field, which is good occasionally, but he loses a lot of power doing that, and because of that, he is not going to hit as many home runs as he should.
Currently, he is sitting around league average for average exit velocity at 87.71, and his launch angle is currently lower than the league average.
Defensively, he has not been great. He is trending in the same direction as he did last year, which is below average. I have said and will continue to say that he isn’t going to be a really good defensive player until he moves to third base, where his size and arm are better suited, and is something that would help Alex Bregman a lot too, as he has not been great at the hot corner.
Overall, Correa has definitely struggled this year. It is still early, and I am still very optimistic that he will turn it around and have a great year.
There are plenty of parts of this team to be happy with if you are an Astros fan. Your team currently has the best record in the American League, and that is without one of their best players playing well. Other guys will come down to Earth, but it will even out when Correa returns to his top form, meaning this 2017 season can be a really exciting one.