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Carlos Correa has polished his hitting approach in his walk year

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The Astros’ shortstop is striking out and chasing less while getting more walks and more pitches per plate appearance.

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Right before his current contract with the Astros expires, Carlos Correa has become a better hitter and a more efficient one at the plate. Correa has polished his swing to better levels and it has brought notable results throughout the whole season in terms of strikeouts, walks, and production, compared to his numbers from last year.

You might find this a little bit odd, especially considering Correa has 89 strikeouts over 106 games, but let me explain. Through this past Saturday, the star shortstop has steadily lowered his K% over the years and had an important surge in his BB% compared to 2020:

K%: 23.7% in 2018, 23.4% in 2019, 21.8% in 2020, 19.4% in 2021.

BB%: 11.3% in 2018, 10.9% in 2019, 7.3% in 2020, 12.4% in 2021.

This has allowed Correa to have his highest on-base percentage in the last four years (.364), a result of a lower whiff percentage (22.5) and the lowest chase percentage of Correa’s career. At 22.9%, it means that the 26-year-old is letting pass almost eight of every 10 balls away from the strike zone. That number is below the league’s average, which is at 28.3%.

Correa is also swinging at the first pitch less (24%) and he has notably diminished his swing percentage in general, going from 47.1% last year to 40.6% this season. Now, Carlos is taking 4.23 pitches per plate appearance, compared to last year’s 3.95.

Another positive aspect about Correa in 2021 is that he is much less susceptible to off-speed pitches. Off off-speed pitches, he hit just two singles over 21 at-bats (.095 AVG, .095 SLG) with 7 K’s in 2020. This year, he’s 15-for-53 with one double and five home runs (.283 AVG, .585 SLG).

These improvements have helped Correa to a solidly productive year. The All-Star came to Sunday’s game slashing .271/.364/.473/.837 with 107 hits in 106 games, along with 26 doubles, 18 four-baggers, 62 runs batted in, 75 scored runs, and 57 bases on balls.

At this point, we only hope the Astros will be able to sign Correa before the upcoming season and make him an Astro for years. In the meantime, we need him focused on guiding the Astros to the promised land.