The Twins’ surprise signing of Carlos Correa to a three-year, $105.3MM contract was supposed to be the signature free-agent addition that washed away the lingering distaste of an awful 2021 campaign pushed them toward an AL Central crown. Instead, the Twins have wildly unperformed expectations for a second straight season, due in large part a once-again disastrous level of injury. Minnesota has had more IL days accrued than any team in the American League and trails only Cincinnati for the MLB lead in that odious category. (The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman took a player-by-player look at the Twins’ staggering injury woes just this morning.)
Very little has gone right in Minnesota this year, but with all the woes they’ve incurred in their catastrophic second half, Correa’s monstrous finish to the season has flown somewhat under the radar. As the team has crumbled around him, Correa has enjoyed just the type of sprint to the finish line the team had hoped for at the time of the contract.
Correa struggled in April and in July, sandwiching a paid of outstanding months between two below-average months at the plate. His bat picked up in late July, however, and he’s finishing out what could well be his only season with his strongest production of the year. Since Aug. 1, Correa is hitting .323/.405/.505 with eight homers, nine doubles and a triple in 222 plate appearances. Both his walk rate (11.7%) and strikeout rate (19.4%) during that stretch of 222 plate appearances are about two percentage points better than the levels Correa carried through the end of July.
Since Aug. 1, Correa ranks 10th in the Majors in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage and 25th in slugging percentage. His 162 wRC+ (indicating he’s been 62% better than the league-average hitter) in that time is tied with J.T. Realmuto for 13th in all of baseball. If you really want to cherry-pick, Correa’s ridiculous .386/.432/.670 slash over 95 plate appearances since Sept. 4 give him the fifth-best wRC+ in baseball during that time (216).
There’s no denying that Correa’s counting stats will be down from their 2021 levels when the season draws to a close. It’s at least possible that he swats another five homers and ends up tying last year’s mark off 26 long balls, though with nine games to play, it’s also unlikely. He’s not going to drive in as many runs as he did in ’21, and some of that is due to a curious power outage with runners in scoring position this season. It’s also due, however, to the simple fact that with Houston in 2021, Correa came to the plate 187 times with runners in scoring position and 304 times with men on base. This season, those numbers are currently at 116 and 248. He hasn’t been as good in big spots as he was a year ago, but also simply hasn’t had as many big spots, thanks to a Twins lineup that has routinely relied on minor league placeholders to fill in for injured regulars.