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MLB The Show

02 Jul 2018

Houston Astros: Are Carlos Correa's injuries preventing his elite status?

Houston Astros: Are Carlos Correa's injuries preventing his
elite status?

Carlos Correa has high expectations on his shoulders, but he hasn't put up numbers expected of him. Is it wrong to get on him for not breaking out?

(Photo Credit: Keith Allison)

Carlos Correa was drafted by the Houston Astros with the first overall pick in the 2012 June Amateur draft, and with that came lofty expectations. Correa didn't take long to surpass them, flying through the minor leagues with a stellar .313 average and reaching MLB in only his fourth pro season. He proved his ability to handle the big leagues in 2015 at 20 years old and won AL Rookie of the Year with a solid .279/.345/.512 batting line to go with 22 home runs, 68 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in only 99 games. He repeated that success his following season, hitting to relatively the same numbers over his first full MLB season.

Don't hate the player

Carlos Correa is only 23, and won't turn 24 until late September. Although he's been a solid starting shortstop through each of his first four seasons, he has only once played in over 140 games. He suffered a torn ligament in his left thumb in July 2017. Then, with his most recent back injury requiring a DL stint, one has to wonder if this is just another bump in the road during a grueling 162-game season, or something more. That said, is it fair to demand more from the Puerto Rican phenom? There's no doubt he could be much better of a player than he's shown, both offensively and defensively, but he's also still just 23 years of age. The expectations for Correa are hard to put into words. He has the talent to be a force at the plate and also a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop, but he needs to be on the field to reach that level. 

R-E-L-A-X

It's ultimately unfair to criticize Carlos Correa for not being a full-blown stud, despite his stats leaving something to be desired. Correa is a world-class athlete, and he showed that with his first half stats from last season. He earned his first All-Star nod thanks to a .325 average and .979 OPS to go with 20 home runs and 65 RBI. Although he was limited to just 28 games in the second half, he still hit a respectable .286 and played solid defense at shortstop. That also doesn't factor in his performance in the postseason when he batted .288 with five home runs. However, the injury didn't prohibit him from contributing the Astros World Series push and, ultimately, the team's first ever World Series win.

Carlos Correa has the potential to not only be a superstar but to dominate the big leagues for the next decade and then some. Just because his numbers haven't suddenly spiked like the Aaron Judges and Juan Sotos of the world doesn't mean he won't ever be the stud Houston expects him to be. It's easy to forget just how young he is, and how bright his future is. So, in the words of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, we need to "r-e-l-a-x" and let him take his time to grow into his abilities. It's also worth mentioning that even with Correa's numbers where they are, he's still easily considered one of the best shortstops in the game today, so fans should just be patient and let him continue playing at a high level even if there are some bumps and bruises along the way.