Correa on verge of joining exclusive club

Shortstop could be AL MVP candidate in his first full season

March 30th, 2016

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Angels outfielder Mike Trout won the American League Most Valuable Player award in 2014, the year he turned 23 years old. The only players to win the AL MVP Award at a younger age were A's starter Vida Blue (22 in 1971) and Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. (23 in 1983).

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa won't turn 22 until September, when he could be on his way to winning his first MVP and joining Trout and Bryce Harper as the next great generation of young superstars. In fact, we're boldly predicting that Correa will win the MVP in his first full season in the big leagues.

And we're not alone.

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"I think it's a good choice for MVP," three-time All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve said. "I think he showed already what he can do, and I think he's a five-tool player. He has a lot of strengths on the team like this with [George] Springer and the guys hitting behind him that can score him. He can hit a lot of homers and play good defense. I think he's the No. 1 choice."

Correa, the former No. 1 overall pick who made his Major League debut in June, won the AL Rookie of the Year last year, hitting .279 with 22 homers, 68 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. He batted third late in the season for a team making a playoff push and hit two homers in the AL Division Series against the Royals.

With a full season of at-bats on a team many expect to win the AL, Correa is poised for a huge year.

"I want to be able to do damage and help my team make the playoffs and eventually win a championship," Correa said. "I don't talk about my personal goals because that's something personal obviously, and I know what I want to accomplish. I'm tough on my goals and I set high goals and they're going to be hard to accomplish, but they were hard last year rand I accomplished most of them. The main goal is to win a championship, and that's all I can say."

Correa, bursting with talent, isn't a finished product, manager A.J. Hinch said. The second-year manager does a nice job tempering team-specific and individualized expectations even when it comes to his young superstar.

"I know we talk about this kid like he's arrived and he's a finished product, but he has things to work on offensively and defensively," Hinch said. "I don't think he has it in him to accept in any facet of the game that he's got it figured out. Defense was important, pitch selection's been very important. Making good decisions on what pitches to swing at, taking his walks, those are signs of him working on something and taking it into the game."