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If this is Carlos Correa’s last year in Houston, it looks to be his finest in an Astros uniform

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The Astros shortstop turns 27 today, and the consistent health that had eluded him for years has remained intact in 2021, which has yielded a career season.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Correa is set to cap off a career season. In terms of WAR, the Astros shortstop has never put together a better season. An fWAR of 5.5 is the high mark of his big-league tenure, as is a bWAR of 7.2.

Prior to last night’s game, when Correa broke 600 plate appearances for the year, 2016 was the only other time the former No. 1 overall pick had accomplished the feat. Today marks Correa’s 27th birthday, and aside from a July slump that was likely induced by a stint on the injured list, he has been remarkably productive and consistent all season.

Injuries have prevented such consistency from occurring in years past and surely stayed the Astros’ hand when it came time to negotiate a sizable contract extension for their superstar shortstop prior to the 2021 campaign. Due to Correa’s impending free agency this winter — a time when he could possibly re-sign with the Astros — it remains to be seen if the organization will pay for their needlessly frugal contract offers that were swiftly rejected.

Since he candidly voiced his dissatisfaction with the Astros’ brass following the failed extension talks, Correa has proceeded to slash .285/.371/.491 with 24 home runs while maintaining his elite play in the field. It could be argued Correa has never played better.

Not since his stellar rookie year in 2015 has Correa whiffed as seldom as he has this year, nor has he posted a Chase rate as low as the one he currently has. In addition to his highly-refined approach at the plate, the Puerto Rican native is on the brink of hitting 25 home runs for the first time in his career and could finish the season with an on-base percentage above .370, something he’s done only once. According to Statcast, 2019 is the lone year Correa’s produced a double-digit Barrel rate. Should his current percentage remain steady, he’ll replicate that achievement this year.

On the other side of the ball, Correa’s saved 19 runs according to Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), which is quite a marvel. Not only is his DRS nearly double his previous career-high, it ranks third in baseball. Moreover, only three other shortstops have a DRS in double digits, and the next-highest mark to Correa’s is 14.

2021 looks to be the year where everything culminated for Correa in Houston. Given what enormous contract offers will surely await him in free agency, it could not have come at a better time.