It was a rather ho-hum year for Carlos Correa in 2020. In 58 games, he hit five home runs, drove in 25 runs and slashed .264/.326/.383. Actually, scratch that, it was disappointing for Correa. His .383 slugging percentage was far and away a career low, as was his .119 ISO and he really didn’t provide fantasy owners with anything very productive in the 2020 sprint. Looking across the board, one of the few things to be excited about Correa’s 2020 season is that his 22.2 percent strikeout rate was his lowest since 2017! Correa entered the big leagues with a ton of hype, but for the most part, that has waned significantly. He doesn’t run anymore, and when he is playing well, it seems that an unfortunate, ill-timed injury comes in and ruins things.
In 2020, Correa posted a walk rate under ten percent for the first time since 2015. That’s over a half-decade ago! Why? Well, his O-swing rate increased for the third straight season, meaning he’s leaving the zone more frequently.
Furthermore, even when he got ahead in the count, he was leaving the zone more! I give him credit for trying to be a bit more aggressive, but come on, stay in the zone! He actually chased less on fastballs and off-speed pitches when he was behind in the count!
One last thing about his walk rate. From 2015-2018, he was in the 74th percentile or better for his walk rate each year. In 2020, he was in the 29th percentile. Yikes.
In terms of actual batted ball metrics, it was rather doom and gloom for Correa here too. His barrel rate fell to a career low 5.9 percent after being seven percent or higher in each of the past five years, and at least eight degrees in three of those seasons. His exit velocity was in line with previous marks and while his hard-hit rate didn’t quite get back to previous years, it was still vastly better than 2019.
Correa’s ground ball rate of 49.7 percent in 2020 was the second-highest mark of his career. He posted the third-lowest fly ball rate of his career, and his HR/FB ratio dropped to a career low 11.1 percent. Furthermore, his average exit velocity on just fly balls and line drives took a hit in 2020. Does this explain things for you? It should.
Avg. Exit Velo on FB/LD
Courtesy of Baseball Savant
In short, he hit fewer fly balls in 2020, and when he did hit fly balls, they didn’t have as much juice compared to recent years. Hence, home runs being down, and HR/FB ratio taking a significant hit.
If there is a saving grace here, towards the end of 2020, his expected slugging percentage was through the roof, likely because his 7.9 percent barrel rate was more than three percent higher than his marks in July and August.
Now, depending on who you encounter, it seems like there are only two real thoughts on Correa for 2021.
He’s bouncing back! I’m all about his current ADP and I’ll target him in every league.
I’m out. No thanks. Not getting burned by that bridge again.
As the 13th shortstop off the board, this is the latest you can get Correa in drafts in recent memory. His current ADP, per NFBC data, is pick 128, meaning in 15-team setups, he’s going off the board in the middle of the eighth round. He’s proven that he has the ability to hit roughly 25 home runs, and perhaps 2021 is the year he breaks the 30-home run threshold for the first time. Well, in that case, he can also break the 25-home run threshold for the first time in his career. The shortstop position is loaded with talent, and there are guys coming off the board after him that might be more attractive than Correa, like Marcus Semien , Didi Gregorius , Paul DeJong , etc.
It’s a personal preference when it comes to drafting Correa in fantasy baseball drafts this season. Personally, I’ll be avoiding him in 2021, and likely getting my shortstop much, much earlier in the draft, and coming in with one of the guys mentioned at the end of the last paragraph as a backup. Don’t get me wrong. Correa won’t be as bad as he was in 2020, but I don’t believe we’ll sniff some of his better years either in 2021.