Correa and Altuve and what went wrong in 2018

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
GAMES 153 137 109 110
BA .346 .316 .315 .239
OBP .410 .386 .391 .323
OPS .957 .837 .941 .728
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
WAR 8.3 5.2 6.3 1.7
XBH% 10.1% 7.4% 10.4% 7.7%
BB% 8.8% 9.2% 11% 11.3%
K% 12.7% 13.2% 19.1% 23.7%
DP% 12.6% 12.1% 11.7% 16.5%
RC 133 93 90 53

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.

For Altuve:

  • 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.

For Correa:

  • 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.


49 comments on “Correa and Altuve and what went wrong in 2018

  1. I am convinced that these two player’s injuries were the causes of their own personal production funk.
    I think Gurriel’s injury was the main cause of his early season production problems.
    I think McCann’s injury was the cause of his total lack of production before his surgery and that he was completely out of shape and not ready to produce after his surgery.
    I firmly believe that the lack of production from these four guys caused in the rest of the team to press and lose focus in their at bats on a big scale and they got down on themselves and that Hinch and Hudgens could not pull them out of their funk.
    Bregman was the exception. Pitchers could not get him out so they pitched around him to get to guys who were hurt or slumping.
    Gonzalez, Reddick, Springer and Gattis got mired in their bad habits and were trying to do anything to raise themselves up but, lost whatever it was that was working for them in 2017.
    It’s a new year and we have new coaches and we have players that know what it takes to win a championship and last year is gone.
    I don’t look for the Astros hitters to be the 2017 or 2018 hitters, but I look for them to be somewhere in between and move up from a top 10 hitting team to a top 5 hitting team in 2019.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Correa is the one who worries me the most because he fell off physically and mentally. His approach was awful and he looked lost. The combination will be hard to rectify. I can only hope that he puts in the effort for his offense this season as he did for his defense last season. I’m half expecting Altuve to have a monster year. I think the 2017-2018 off season took its toll on him with all the MVP and Sportsman of the Year hoopla. Look how long it took for him to hit his first homer last year. I do think he should look at his approach as well. There is definitely room for improvement there. It’s asking a lot but if he was as selective as Bregman he’d probably hit .350+ and have an OPS north of 1000.

    This may be a make or break year for Correa regarding his Astros future. If he’s league average or worse could he become trade bait? It might push the Astros to work hard on an extension for Bregman who is more durable and may be the better choice long term for shortstop. Of course that assumes Bregman is still on the ascent but I think that’s a pretty safe bet. Oh BTW, he was courtside at the Rockets game last night with Marwin. I’m kind of dismayed that Marwin isn’t getting any FA traction. Perhaps his sub-par 2018 is having a more negative impact than I expected. Wish there was room for him on our 2019 squad.


  3. Hopefully both will bounce back for the 2019 season but I think Altuve will be the one who is more likely to match his 2017 year. I hope I’m wrong but I have concerns about Correa with his back and a couple of of those intangibles that we have previously discussed. I’d like nothing better than a duplication of everything 2017 for the Astros this season.
    On another note, and probably old news but I was reading where DK turned down a 5/90 deal in 2016. I wasn’t aware that 18MM/yr was chump change but I guess that he must have thought he was going to get JV type money. I’d be surprised if he got any more than 4/75

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Correa worries me. Backs are usually an ongoing problem.
    We can only hope his was an isolated incident.

    As for DK. I don’t want him back. I’d rather go with what we have in house.
    I don’t see anything free agent wise worth the money.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What went wrong? Guys get injured. Guys don’t have career years two years in a row. Luhnow was smart enough to put together the best rotation in MLB. We won 103 games. We waltzed past the Indians. We won the opener in Boston. Then we got beat, a bad pitch here, a bad at bat there, some really clutch hitting by the other team, dubious umpiring, a series changing changing play with two outs in the 9th in game 4. We had a great season. But that 2017 magic where everything went right when it had to, well, the Red Sox had that magic. But we were just a couple of plays away from the World Series. I have zero complaints.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What I saw with my untrained eyes – Altuve had some bad ABs but generally put the bat on the ball. Correa looked way off. His bat head was constantly low and when he made contact a lot were pop ups toward first or right field. All could be because of injuries but also can be due to lack of adjusting.


  7. We have a granddaughter graduating high school. My wife and I decided we wanted to pay her college tuition. So for this past year we have our RV sitting on an entrance to various West and South Texas ranches logging traffic. Now for the story. Some land owners do not have the mineral rights. In those cases the oil company has the right to name the well(s) anything they choose. We just finished the Bregman and the Altuve.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I heard Forrest Whitley last night on Astroline AM 790 in Houston and then this article showed up on that covers similar ground.
    He was pretty polished on radio (a few too many “Uhs” that he will grow out of) but sounded quite intelligent. A few things from the radio that don’t appear in this article. He talked about hanging with J.B. Bukauskas (I think at the Arizona Fall League) and how much each of them is into the analytics as provided by the organization. He said he has been corresponding with Brent Strom and met with him this off-season and he has been giving him pointers and things to work on for his pitching health. He is living with friends of his family here in Houston while he works out at a better place than they have in San Antonio – Dynamic Sports Training where Alex Bregman works out.

    They did not pin him on his suspension other than talking about how the suspension and injuries cut way back on his work. He did state that he of course had the extra AFL innings after the season and also pitched 30 or so innings in extended spring training coming back from the suspension.

    It was the first time I heard him interviewed for an extended time and found it interesting.


  9. The Astros and their arb-eligible players have to agree on a contract or exchange numbers by noon (CST) today. Here are the players and what baseball-reference thinks they will make this year, approx….

    Gerrit Cole – $13.1 MM
    Will Harris – $3.6 MM
    Collin McHugh – $5.4 MM
    Ryan Pressly – $3.1 MM
    Brad Peacock – $2.9 MM
    Jake Marisnick – $2.4 MM
    Lance McCullers Jr. – $4.6 MM
    Carlos Correa – $5.1 MM
    Roberto Osuna – $6.5 MM
    Chris Devenski – $1.4 MM

    Even with his bad year, it feels weird that Correa’s number is not that much higher than McCullers who will likely not pitch this season.


  10. I think it’s all about the injuries. I’m less concerned about Altuve because this seems like a one-off for him.

    As others have mentioned, Correa’s back problems seem to reoccur from time to time. I think if they flare up again this year, we’re going to miss Marwin.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bregman says his arm started bothering him in spring training of 2016. He said it wasn’t to bad until it locked up during workouts at Christmans time.
    He got a CT scan and they decided surgery was in order.


  12. Excuse me if I don’t buy Bregmans reason for waiting until now to get his elbow operated on. The day after they played their last game in 2018, Altuve was in surgery. And…..if Correa has “back problems” again this year, I will gladly drive him to the Laserver Spine Institute (where I had surgery when I broke my back) and let the doctor who operated on me, take care of that little problem. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel very well, but I’m done with the “drama”. You have a boo-boo……GET IT FIXED.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Every so often, I think of someone that used to a great prospect, so I check and see what is happening with them. Remember OUR Matt Duffy. In 2015, he hit .295 in Fresno. In 2016, after 1/2 a year, we let him go to Rangers. In 2016 he hit .229. In 2017 he goes to Japan and hits .201 and last year was out of baseball. How does a guy just forget how to hit? Yet, it happens all the time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Every now and then I wonder what happened to Astro Telmanch “Ty” Gainey. In 86 he had a remarkable (1.053 OPS) AAA season and then impressed during his brief call up that season. But he never produced at the ML level again. My guess then was lifestyle choices did him in, but that was total conjecture.


  14. Does it tell us anything that CC, Cole, and Devo will go to arbitration? I just got a feeling that when FA time comes they’ll fly away.


    • Correa and Cole are both Boras clients, so, no surprise here.
      I’m happy they reached agreement with McHugh. He went all the way through the process two years in a row.


    • There is no reason to believe that they won’t go to a big market club offering the most money. As we reach our max payroll threshold, the minor league system has to produce real options annually.


  15. -I don’t worry about Carlos Correa’s financial situation.
    -I’m glad Bregman’s elbow got fixed.
    -We traded for Cole and Verlander knowing that one day they were going to go. Let’s enjoy their pitching now and worry about next year… offseason.
    -I don’t think Luhnow is finished with his puzzle.
    -The three years Collin McHugh was a starter for the Astros his WAR was 3.2, 3.7 and 3.0. He is underrated.
    -Let’s see. Do I want JA Happ as my #4 at $17million this year or Josh James as my#4 for $550,000? I’ll take album covers for $400, Trebek.
    -If I had any money, I’d bet that Jose Altuve wins the AL batting title.


    • I think we’re a 100 win team right now. The various other forecasters have us at 95 to 97. And I agree, Luhnow has not finished the Opening Day roster yet.


  16. Pingback: Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Slow Offseason, Grandal, Brewers, Bumgarner, Phillies - MLB Trade Rumors

  17. Pingback: Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Slow Offseason, Grandal, Brewers, Bumgarner, Phillies – mrwilliamjobrien

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