Astros shortstop Carlos Correa had his toughest offensive season, though he managed to stay healthy for the first time since his first full season in the big leagues in 2016. Correa entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Rangers with a .681 OPS, well below his career .845 OPS entering the ’20 season.
Still, Correa’s presence on the field has been invaluable for the Astros, considering what he's done defensively at a premium position. Correa could be on his way to his first Gold Glove Award in a season in which he’s committed only one error. According to FanGraphs, he led all American League shortstops in Defensive Runs Saved with eight entering Sunday. His .995 fielding percentage would be the best in club history at shortstop.
“I’m really happy with the way I was defensively this year,” Correa said. “I’m leading the American League in Defensive Runs Saved, which is something I was always talking to [bench coach Joe] Espada about. I was like, ‘How am I not making any errors and my Defensive Runs Saved are not up there?’ This year, I’m leading the league with eight runs saved. … That’s a big accomplishment for me and something I worked on really hard.”
Correa, who has perhaps the strongest shortstop arm in baseball, said better positioning, playing a little deeper and an improved first step have helped his defensive metrics. The Gold Glove Award is voted on by managers and coaches, but the SABR Defensive Index, which is a measure of the number of runs saved by a player's defensive performance over the course of a season compared to the average defensive player at that position, is factored in as well.
“I think my first step has gotten better through the years and just being able to make plays,” Correa said. “All those tough plays I made this year, they help you big time on the defensive metrics. Sometimes, you think you’re not making errors, but if you’re making those tough plays in the hole and all those plays that look hard, your defensive metrics are going to be up there. I understood that, and I take pride in every single ground ball.”