So, nothing earth shattering here – a lot of people have said for a while that Carlos Correa reminds them of Alex Rodriguez.
But it was 1996 and I was in Florida for Spring Break staying at my late grandparents home and reading their morning paper while eating my cereal. There was a nice article about this young shortstop who I had a few rookie cards of, wondering if he could break spring training with the Mariners big club and hit enough to stay in the lineup.
Rodriguez was coming off a partial season in 1995 in which he hit .232 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 142 at bats. He was entering his age 20 season and all of the talk was surrounding his sound glove but the pundits continually said he was ‘light hitting’.
I remember when Correa got called up last year a lot of folks on Sirius talking about how he’s going to be good, but temper expectations on his bat. They said he wouldn’t hit quite as much as people would like to see.
Obviously, the parallels aren’t perfect here. Correa came up in a different era and in his age 20 season, won rookie of the year. He hit 22 home runs, drove in 68, and had an astounding .857 OPS. He did this in a era that was not known for it’s use of PEDs and with league-wide pitching being MUCH stronger than it was back in the mid-90’s.
Rodriguez went on to post one of the best age-20 seasons ever in 1996; shortly after that spring break at my grandparents wrapped up. He had 36 home runs, 141 runs scored, 123 RBI, 54 doubles, and a 1.045 OPS. Again, different era.
The build is very similar on both of these guys at age 20, and the ability to use all of the field with some power has some real similarities.
While Correa lacks being surrounded by a few Hall of Fame caliber threats in his same lineup (Rodriguez had Griffey and Edgar Martinez among others) there is enough firepower in the Houston lineup to really protect Correa and allow him to develop without the sense that he has to do too much.
I think before any of the steroid use; Rodriguez was a sure-fire Hall of Famer; if we can just erase from our memory what has happened since time spanned forward. I very rarely say this, but I believe if he stays healthy you’re looking at a Hall of Fame player in Correa who will deliver some very special seasons on the back of his baseball cards in the present day. I am really excited to see how he develops his game to build on an exceptional 4.1 bWAR rookie season in just 99 games (extrapolate that to 150+).
I felt something had to go up about the guy, as I went back through the archives there just wasn’t enough written about a guy who could unseat Trout and Harper as the face of baseball in the near future.