The Z REPORT

Lance Zierlein: Will Carlos Correa ever become a superstar?

Carlos Correa has not quite become a superstar yet. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The baseball season lasts a long, long time. It’s not one big season, but rather, many smaller seasons with different narratives develop during those many seasons. Early in the season there were questions about what was wrong with the Astros offense. Then the narrative turned to the bullpen issues or non-issues depending on your vantage point. There was a time that we were talking about the Astros rotation being one of the most dominant in MLB history, but that has cooled off a little.  

We focus and then re-focus on a variety of topics because the baseball season lasts forever and we need different things to yap about to make it more interesting during the grind of summer. One of the most fluid topics you can debate with someone is what the Astros rotation would be in the playoffs “if the season ended today.” We have all done it. We have all argued about who the top four starters would be and what the bullpen set-up would look like.

We are now at that stage of the season before the trade deadline where all of the talk is about to revolve around which arms to target off of other rosters to become the next closer for the Astros. I’ve got Brad Hand from the Padres, but that’s not what I’m writing about today. I’m writing about Carlos Correa.

The best of the Astros

Jose Altuve is the Astros G.O.A.T and that isn’t up for debate. I’m not doing the Biggio vs. Altuve thing either. Not here and not now. In his relatively short Astros career, Alex Bregman has made a strong case for being the second best position player on this roster. We all know that Bregman’s legend as a clutch player continues to grow, but the first-time All-Star is also becoming very consistent. Take a look at his numbers over his last 162 games:

Games

Runs

Hits

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BA

OB%

SLG%

OPS

162

109

184

47

5

30

103

.297

.378

.535

.913

OK, Alex Bregman is good. REALLY GOOD. But this isn’t what my article is about or I would just drop the mic after that table I just put on you. And are you even arguing against Bregman being the second best position player on this team? George Springer is a good player who can carry you when he gets hot, but I don’t know that he’s THAT guy for an entire season. Which brings us to Carlos Correa.

Expectations for Correa

I brought up Carlos Correa on the radio and the fact that he hasn’t been able to ride a long-term hot streak this season and that I was a little surprised that Correa hasn’t made the move into superstar territory just yet. All of a sudden, the discussion turned to whether or not our expectations for Correa are too high.

I say no. Carlos Correa has superstar ability and a superstar future. I’m right, right? I mean, he looks the part….he’s got to be a future MVP candidate and best shortstop in the game, right?

Maybe not. For the record, I’m sticking with my assumptions that I’m right. He is a big guy with a sweet swing and the ability to drive the ball with power and his .941 OPS gave us some insight into what he’s capable of. Defensively, Correa is rangy with a cannon for a right arm. But are my expectations too high for him? Are yours? I’ve just always assumed he would become a 35-40 homer hitter and approach the 1.000 OPS mark.

I love Carlos Correa and that won’t change if he doesn’t become the MVP-caliber superstar that I’ve always expected him to be. But I’m going on record that my expectations aren’t changing for him. I still expect Carlos Correa to become the next, great shortstop and you should too.

 

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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