As the Astros appear to be roaring towards another spot in the playoffs, it is a weekend for thoughts and musings.
Most Astro fans value George Springer over Carlos Correa. From a pure baseball “value” standpoint, Carlos has some advantages over George. In a couple weeks they both have birthdays as Springer turns 30 and Correa only 25. Correa plays what is considered the more skilled, tougher to fill position as a SS vs. an OF. Their career slash numbers are very similar – Springer .270 BA/ .361 OBP/ .845 OPS vs. Correa .277 BA/ .356 OBP/ .843 OPS. In an average 162 games Springer puts up 115 runs/ 34 HRs/ 91 RBIs, while Correa puts up 92 Runs/ 30 HRs/ 110 RBIs.
The difference in perception by local fans comes from two areas.
- In general, the fans have always believed that Correa would flee for a bigger media market as soon as he was able, while Springer has already been open to a couple of buyout extensions by the team. Correa’s recent changing of agents to Phillip Morris, which specializes in Hollywood celebs and not athletes and his apparent attachment to A-Rod seem to signal someone who has his sites on the big lights of L.A or N.Y.C.
- While George Springer has had his share of injuries and missed time, Correa’s injuries have been viewed with a lot more suspicion. Part of it is that Springer’s injuries have been mostly in full view of everyone, whether it is pulling up gimpy with a hamstring pull or having a collision with the outfield wall (which has twice made him miss time). Correa did have his thumb injury when sliding back in 2017, but the injuries the last couple years (Back strains – twice, massage injures a rib?) were not as visible or believable. He seems like a Porsche that is going to break down at the drop of a dime.
Maybe the Astro fans embrace Springer because he just seems more “real” whatever that means. How the team values them both will be on display over the next two seasons.
It sure seems strange to look at Alvarez and Tucker and realize that they are both so young (22 years old) and that Tucker is actually 5 months older. Alvarez is built like an Adonis – looking like he fills up that whole batter’s box. Tucker looks like a string bean from Archie’s comics. It may seem like a slam dunk that Alvarez will be the better player after the historic start of his career, hitting marks that have him compared to Ted Williams and Albert Pujols. But with Tucker getting some playing time with Springer on the sideline, the young man has shown that he may bring a more versatile bag of talent to the game. He flashed his speed in both a fine fielding play and a stolen base on Friday night. He was very important in the team’s huge comeback on Thursday night with his first major league homer and his clutch 2 out, 2 strike hit in the 12th to keep the team alive.
It will be fun to watch these two develop over time. Tucker may never be the pure hitter or pure power bat that Alvarez is and Alvarez may never be the multi-tool player that Tucker is, but the key thing is the Astros have both and we will get to see them a lot in the 2020s.
You don’t have to look far to see what esteem this post holds Justin Verlander.
It is probably a good bet that if you took a poll, you would find that 80% or more of the fans would rather see Verlander win the Cy Young than Cole. This is obviously due to his age, his heart, what he did for the 2017 WS run and the fact that he signed for two more seasons with the team. However, Cole has given nothing but his best and stands shoulder to shoulder with JV in the race to the CY Award. A big chunk of the prejudice towards Verlander comes from the belief that Cole will be pitching somewhere else next season.
Unlike Carlos Correa, Gerrit Cole has only missed a start here or there. He has been one of the two best pitchers in the world this season and if the Astros win it all, he and JV will be a big part of that story.
Fans may not be as excited about a Cole Cy Young award as a Verlander one, but they should be.