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Correa: 'I don't want to retire' without MVP

Astros young superstar determined to add to impressive trophy case
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Carlos Correa's list of accomplishments is extraordinary, especially for someone who will play most of the upcoming season at 23 years old. He's already won a Rookie of the Year Award, started the All-Star Game and hoisted a World Series trophy.

Had he not sustained a thumb injury that required surgery midway through last season -- he missed seven weeks -- Correa would have been in the mix for the 2017 American League MVP Award, an honor which went to teammate Jose Altuve. But as he prepares for his third full season in the big leagues, Correa has sights set on the trophy.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Carlos Correa's list of accomplishments is extraordinary, especially for someone who will play most of the upcoming season at 23 years old. He's already won a Rookie of the Year Award, started the All-Star Game and hoisted a World Series trophy.

Had he not sustained a thumb injury that required surgery midway through last season -- he missed seven weeks -- Correa would have been in the mix for the 2017 American League MVP Award, an honor which went to teammate Jose Altuve. But as he prepares for his third full season in the big leagues, Correa has sights set on the trophy.

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"MVP is something I don't want to retire without winning one," he said. "It would be like a dream come true. I already have an Rookie of the Year. I have All-Star. I've got a World Series championship. That's amazing. I don't know if it's this year, but at some point, I'd like to win that, and I'll just try to improve my game every single day to try to accomplish that."

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Correa was certainly in the MVP hunt in the first half of 2017. At the All-Star break, he was hitting .325 with 20 homers and 65 RBIs in 81 games. He played through the thumb injury for the last few games prior to the All-Star break before the surgery kept him out for 42 games.

The final numbers were good -- a .315 average with 24 homers and 84 RBIs -- and he walloped five home runs in the playoffs, including two in the World Series. Still, Correa wasn't completely fulfilled.

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"I feel like I had a really great year last year, but there's still many holes in my game I can fix in order for me to get better," he said. "Obviously, my expectations are even higher than last year. With the experience I acquired last year and the things I've learned through the 2 1/2 years I've been playing in the big leagues, I'm thinking about becoming an even better player this year, and I know what I need to do in order for me to do that."

Correa said he can do a better job of pitch selection, which is a constant battle for any player. He wants to get better with his first step defensively and improve his baserunning, as well.

"I don't want to be one of the top [players]; I want to be the top one," Correa said. "That's what everybody wants to do. That's why we play, and we want to have a beautiful career and be able to retire and enjoy our family. For me, right now it's the time to sacrifice a lot and put in the work so then I can just relax."

Video: Outlook: Correa one of the more powerful shortstops

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said the sky is the limit for Correa.

"He can do anything in this game," Hinch said. "He's one of the most talented and one of the most hard-working players in the big leagues."

Winning the AL MVP Award this year won't be easy. Altuve is still in the prime of his career, and 2017 National League MVP Award winner Giancarlo Stanton is with the Yankees. Aaron Judge, the Yankees' slugger who finished second to Altuve in the MVP race and won the Rookie of the Year Award, figures to be in the mix as well.

"There's a lot of talent, there's no doubt," Correa said. "It's not going to be easy, but at the same time, we've got to be the best version of ourselves that we can at the end of the day, and the numbers are going to tell you who's going to win it. I've got to do what I can control."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros, Carlos Correa