Monday, July 20, 2015

Correa's first 35 games, in perspective

Good afternoon, homies. Someone I know and trust sent me the following:

I'd love to see Correa's first 35 games as a 20-year old compared to Trout, A-Rod, Machado, and Harper.

And we here at Astros County, in an effort to remain your friendly neighborhood blog & grill, will accommodate this, except I'll just go with their first 35 games, and note if those 35 games happened prior to their Age 20 season.

Yesterday we linked to an article in which Dayn Perry asked:
Is Correa already the American League's top shortstop? After six weeks or so of Correa, yes, that question can be asked plausibly. Of a 20-year old.

So let's take this a step further and, just for comparison's sake, and, to accommodate a reader question, put Correa's first 35 Major-League games next to some other stars' first 35 games. 

But before you get riled up, this isn't to say that Correa will go on to be a Shortstop Mike Trout - which is something out of sports science fiction - the following is simply to tell facts, and to do so for fun. 

Carlos Correa
.290/.331/.531, 30K:9BB, 137 OPS+, 141 wRC+ (100 is average), 1.8 WAR

This is unbelievable. Not in my wildest expectations did I expect this from Correa*. For him to produce like this so quickly is the best-case scenario for Astros fans. 

*This is actually not true. In my wildest expectations I thought of nightly walk-offs and 4-HR games against the Rangers. 

Mike Trout
.217/.276/.406, 89 wRC+

Trout debuted for the Angels on July 8, 2011 and played in 40 games that season. That said, he followed this up by hitting .326/.399/.564 in 2012 with a league-leading 168 OPS+ as well as leading the league with 49 stolen bases. 

Alex Rodriguez
.257/.274/.312,  50 wRC+

You have to cross from 1994 into 1995 to get A-Rod's first 35 career games back when he played with Seattle. He was bad early on in his Major-League career, posting a .586 OPS with a .360 BABIP. But that was also when A-Rod was in his Age 18 and 19 seasons, respectively. A-Rod broke out in 1996 - his Age 20 season (though he turned 21 in July 1996), hitting .358/.414/.631 with a 159 wRC+. 

Manny Machado
.267/.281/.450, 93 wRC+

Machado, like A-Rod, had a little bit of a head-start age-wise on Correa. Machado debuted in 2012 as a 19-year old, put up a .739 OPS in 51 games. In 2013, his Age 20 season, Machado would lead the league with 51 doubles and hit .283/.314/.432.

Bryce Harper
.276/.359/.500, 132 wRC+

Harper might be our closest First 35 Game comparison to Correa's first 35 games. Harper debuted on April 28, 2012 and put up an .817 OPS, good enough to earn him NL Rookie of the Year. And he did this in his Age 19 season. The following season - 2013 - Harper was in his Age 20 season and hit .274/.368/.486. It's worth noting that this season Harper is 22 and leading the league in Home Runs (27), OBP (.465), SLG (.702), OPS naturally (1.167), OPS+ (219), and Total Bases (200). 

Mickey Mantle

I can't tell you what Mantle's wRC+ was in his first 35 games, but I threw this in for Extra Fun (EF+). 


Among all 20-year old hitters from 1950-2015, Correa's 1.8 ranks 37th in fWAR (FanGraphs' version of WAR)...and he's done it in six weeks. The best single season wRC+ of any 20- or younger year old hitter from 1990-2015 goes as follows: Trout (167 wRC+), A-Rod (159), Correa (141), and Harper (137). 

From a franchise-specific standpoint, Correa's 1.8 career WAR is already tied for 12th among Astros shortstops in team history. It's 18th-best among Astros shortstops with at least 100 Plate Appearances, and if he adds 1.0 WAR over the next 68 games Correa will move into Top 5 in team history. Again, he has done this in 35 games. 

Things can change over the next couple of months, but let's just sit back and slap hands at what is happening.