AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa should save room in his trophy case


By:Ted Berg | November 16, 2015

Mike Trout spoiled us, I think. If Carlos Correa burst into the big leagues and did what he did this season, at his age and with his all-around ability, in any other era besides this one, in the wake of Trout, we’d all be sitting around dumbfounded by how much he managed to accomplish in every phase of baseball in his first 99 Major League games.

Correa, who turned 21 in late September, started the season in Class AA but played his way to the big-league Astros by early June. Once there, he hit .279 with an .857 OPS, smacked 22 homers, stole 14 bases, and played — to the eye, at least — largely excellent defense at shortstop.

Production like that is nowhere near a common phenomenon for a player of Correa’s age, and it’s especially rare for anyone who plays a premium defensive position. Check this out: Correa’s park- and league-adjusted 132 OPS+ ranks second in big-league history among all shortstops age 20 or younger with at least 400 plate appearances in a season. Of all players who ever played Correa’s position at Correa’s age, only Alex Rodriguez ever had a better year.

In fact, only four players before Correa ever managed at least a 130 OPS+ at age 20 or younger while playing any up-the-middle position. They are: Trout, Rodriguez, Mickey Mantle, and Ken Griffey Jr.

Mantle is already in the Hall of Fame and Griffey looks likely to join him this summer. A-Rod would be a shoo-in for Cooperstown if he weren’t A-Rod. And though Trout’s got a long way to go, he hasn’t really done anything yet to suggest he isn’t the best player to ever pick up a bat.

It’s some seriously good company for Correa, is the point. The AL Rookie of the Year Award is a fine honor, but he’s probably going to want to keep plenty of room open on his trophy shelf. Maybe get a whole room or something.


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