It may seem almost sinful to lump Carlos Correa‘s below average 2018 with Jose Altuve‘s 2018, which is really only below average for Mr. Altuve. But here’s the point. The Astros’ offense was down in 2018 from a universe leading 2017, down almost 100 runs (896 to 797 runs). And you don’t have to squint too hard to see that a big chunk of that could be attributed to Correa’s and Altuve’s off/injured years.
Let’s take a quick look at the drop off across some major stats…..
|Stat||Altuve 2017||Altuve 2018||Correa 2017||Correa 2018|
|RUNS||112 R||84 R||82 R||60 R|
|DOUBLES||39 2BS||29 2BS||25 2BS||20 2BS|
|HRS||24 HRS||13 HRS||24 HRS||15 HRS|
|RBIS||81 RBIS||61 RBIS||84 RBIS||65 RBIS|
Correa batted almost the same amount of times in 2018 as 2017, but accomplished a lot less. Altuve lost only 10% ABs between the two years, but his production dropped more than that. Along with dropping in all the “traditional” stats, it is interesting to see that the two of them dropped about 77 in Runs Created (RC) for a team that dropped 99 runs.
The two players suffered injuries (back for Carlos / knee for Jose) that could easily have caused their lack of production, especially in the power area. It is very likely that neither player was healthy from the times they returned from their injuries to the end of the season. Both players saw big drops in WAR. It is almost insane that Correa ended up tied in WAR with the offensively anemic Jake Marisnick on the year.
Both Correa and Altuve hit extra base hits about 30% less often on the season. Correa had a big jump in K% and his 16.5% DP rate meant that for every 6 times he came up to bat with a runner on 1st he would hit into one double play.
Looking even deeper, here are some other telling stats.
- Altuve murdered both right-handed and left-handed pitching (over .344 BA and .950 OPS against both) in 2017. But he dropped off to a pedestrian .282 BA/.264 OBP/.766 OPS slash against lefties in 2018.
- In late and close situations he was an amazing .441/.529/1.190 in 2018 and a much lower .300/.354/.724 in 2018.
- Against power pitchers, his slash was an all world .384 BA/ .469 OBP/ 1.067 OPS in 2017 and a mere mortal .273/ .333/ .715 in 2018.
- In 2017 with 2 outs and RISP he put up .305 BA/ .414 OBP/ .991 OPS and a slash that many pitchers might beat in 2018 – .137 BA/ .228 OBP/ .463 OPS.
- In 2018, Correa was good on the road (.282 BA/ .348 OBP/ .818 OPS) and pitiful at home (.195/ .298/ .638).
- After hitting .310 BA/ .383 OBP/ .871 OPS against power pitchers in 2017, he was a 90 lb weakling in 2018 (.167/ .237/ .546).
- Something that points to his injury, Correa only hit .180 BA/ .261 OBP/ .517 OPS/ 2 HRs and 16 RBIs after the All Star Break.
It is pretty obvious that if Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve can come back healthy and can raise their games anywhere near 2017 standards this alone could supercharge the Astros’ offense. It is not just their numbers, but how they might lift all the players in front of and behind them in the lineup. Throw in All Star Michael Brantley and up and flying Alex Bregman, the heart of the team George Springer, WWE lover Josh Reddick, Cuban Yuli Gurriel, utility man Aledmys Diaz, DH Tyler White and whichever catcer they choose (Robinson Chirinos or Max Stassi) and this team could be back up on top offensively in 2019.