Sunday, November 10, 2013

Exit Music (For A Player): Carlos Corporan

We're taking a look at the Astros who are still on the 40-Man Roster as part of our off-season Exit Music (For A Player) recap of 2013. Read the archive here. Today we take on Carlos Corporan.

Acquired: Signed as a free agent on November 11, 2010

64 games played, 210 PAs, .225/.287/.361, 79 OPS+
Baseball-Reference WAR: 0.5
FanGraphs WAR: 0.4
Walk Percentage: 4.8%
Strikeout Percentage: 28.6%
2013 Salary: $495,000

Corporan was everything he was supposed to be for the Astros in 2013: A serviceable backup catcher. The fact that he posted a WAR over 0.0 is good enough. There were 46 catchers who got over 200 PAs in 2013, and 31 of them had a WAR at or below Corporan's 0.4. But while Corporan didn't equal his .758 OPS in 2012, he set career highs in Games, ABs, PS, runs, hits, doubles, homers, RBI, and strikeouts (because of course). All of the offensive production can be attributed to the increase in playing time, but he earned it - especially after the devastating loss of his son in 2012. 

Corporan hit far more groundballs in 2013, setting a career-high 1.21 GB/FB ratio, his line-drive rate went from 31.7% in (a very limited) 2012 to 19.7% in 2013, while his groundball rate rose from 31.7% to 43.9%. 

High-Water Mark:
April 29 @ Yankee Stadium. Corporan goes 4x5 with a double, homer, and four RBI.

What Went Well:
*The first half of the season. In 37 games (30 starts) prior to the All-Star Break, Corporan hit .274/.339/.434. This includes a stretch from April 2 - June 5 (yep, arbitrary, I know), when he hit .338/.416/.559 with an absolutely unsustainable .422 BABIP. Four of his home runs were hit in this stretch.
*This is probably going to be redundant, and true for most hitters, but he was pretty great when hitting when he was ahead in the count: .300/.451/.475.
*Corporan's defensive rating (via FanGraphs) rose from 1.8 in 2011 to 3.4 in 2013, giving him a Runs Above Replacement rating of 3.5.

What Didn't:
*Regressing to the mean sucks. In the second half of the season, Corporan hit .154/.212/.256 on a .182 BABIP. He had 19 hits in April and May, and 24 hits total from June 1 to the end of the season. When he took over the C1 position following the Castro/Stassi injuries, he went 6x44 in September.
*When hitting with runners in scoring position, Corporan had seven hits in 54 plate appearances, for a .143/.189/.306 line.
*Facing the starting pitcher for a second time, he was .174/.220/.174 with 17 strikeouts (in 50 PAs) and no extra-base hits. This is compared to his .708 OPS when facing the SP for the 1st time (52 PAs) and the .846 OPS when facing the SP for the 3rd time (35 PAs) in a game.

Did You Know?
Corporan got his first major-league hit on May 6, 2009 in the top of the 9th of a 15-3 Brewers win over Cincinnati, off of shortstop Paul Janish who came in for mop-up duty. Corporan would later score in the inning, and Janish would be charged with 5H/5ER, 2K:0BB in that game. He would make one more relief appearance in his career, on July 6, 2009, and give up 4H/6ER, 1K:2BB in a 22-1 Reds defeat at Philadelphia.

2014 contract: Corporan will be in the final year of his pre-arbitration years, meaning he'll make around league-minimum...if the Astros keep him around. It's possible that he and Max Stassi will compete for C2 in 2014, though the Astros may decide to let Stassi catch full-time at OKC in 2014. This is one of life's great mysteries.
2014 outlook: I guess it all depends on how the Astros want to use Stassi. Corporan will either be a backup in Houston, or he may be a backup with another team. Corporan will be a serviceable backup catcher wherever he goes.