With two years remaining on his three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Twins, Carlos Correa has officially exercised his opt-out clause, which makes him a free agent for the second straight year. Before joining Minnesota, Correa spent his first seven seasons with the Astros, earning the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year Award, making two All-Star teams and helping Houston win the 2017 World Series, as well as AL pennants in 2019 and 2021.
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Here’s what you need to know about Correa:
Birthdate: Sept. 22, 1994 (Age 28 in 2023)
Primary position: SS
Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 220 lbs.
Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico
School(s): Puerto Rico Baseball Academy (HS)
Drafted: 1st round (1st), 2012, by Astros
MLB debut: June 8, 2015
Qualifying offer: Ineligible to receive one
Perhaps the biggest knock against Correa prior to 2022 was his inconsistent offensive production on a year-to-year basis. However, he followed up a 131 OPS+ in 2021 with a 140 OPS+ in 2022. As a result, his injury history is now the primary concern, as he missed 234 of a possible 810 regular season games (28.9%) across 2017-22.
He’s already one of the best players ever from Puerto Rico
From Roberto Clemente to Orlando Cepeda to Ivan Rodriguez to Carlos Beltrán, Puerto Rico has a rich history of producing top baseball talent, and Correa has carried on that lineage. The first player from Puerto Rico to be selected first overall in the MLB Draft, Correa already ranks 12th among Puerto Rican-born position players in career WAR. His 39.5 WAR is the highest total for any Puerto Rican-born player through an age-27 season.
He’s shown the ability to be an elite defensive shortstop
Correa’s defensive metrics slipped in 2022, as he recorded -3 outs above average and 3 defensive runs saved, but the 28-year-old has been an elite defensive shortstop in the not-too-distant past. Correa led all shortstops in defensive runs saved (20) and led all players with 2.9 defensive WAR in 2021, winning his first Gold Glove Award as well as a Platinum Glove. He also had 17 OAA across 2020-21, fifth best at the position.
Correa’s best defensive attribute is arguably his arm strength. According to Statcast’s new arm strength metric, Correa had the sixth-highest average (88.0 mph) among qualifying shortstops in 2022, with the fourth-highest max throw (95.0 mph).
His offensive production puts him in elite company
In AL/NL history, 188 players have amassed 2,000-plus plate appearances through their age-27 seasons while playing at least 50% of their games at shortstop. In this group, only six players have posted a better OPS+ through their age-27 seasons than Correa’s 129 OPS+ -- A-Rod, Arky Vaughan, Nomar Garciaparra, Ernie Banks, Hanley Ramirez and Corey Seager.
His postseason resume is outstanding
While it must be acknowledged that current players have a chance to play more playoff rounds than those who played before the Wild Card era, Correa’s postseason numbers are nonetheless impressive. His 18 career postseason home runs tie him for seventh on the all-time list, while his 59 RBIs rank sixth.
He’s a rarity at the position
Though the Pirates’ Oneil Cruz (6-foot-7) has redefined what it means to be a tall shortstop, Correa is still a rare breed at the position. Through 2022, Correa is one of four players listed at 6-foot-4 or taller to play 100 career games at shortstop, and one of three (along with Seager and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.) to last at least 500 games.
Another No. 1 pick set to cash in
With plans to opt out of his deal, Correa will surely be searching for a new contract north of $200 million this offseason. If he does sign a deal worth $200 million or more, it would mean that the No. 1 pick in five out of six Drafts from 2007-12 reached that plateau. David Price (2007), Stephen Strasburg (2009), Bryce Harper (2010) and Gerrit Cole (2011) previously did it.