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Carlos Correa Signs with Minnesota Twins - Fantasy Baseball Impact

One of the biggest surprises of this post-lockout free agency was probably Correa's move to Minnesota. The 27-year old, gold-glove-winning shortstop took his talents to the Midwest and signed a fat three-year contract worth 105 million dollars in the process.

Correa was a staple of the Houston Astros lineup for the last seven seasons and a big part of the revitalization of that franchise that went from cellar dwellers to World Series winners. He's one of the most well-rounded players in the game as he's been a consistent hitter year in and year out and a major asset on defense as well.

Will Correa help elevate a Twins team that finished last in the AL Central last season? That remains to be seen, but all we really care about in the meantime is what his move to the "land of ten thousand lakes" means for his fantasy value in the upcoming 2022 baseball season. Let's dive right in, shall we?

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Year in Review

Correa is now one of the highest-paid players in the league, but there's a pretty argument for him getting paid the way he did. He finished his 2021 campaign with 26 home runs, 92 RBI, and 104 runs scored while slashing .279/.366/.485 in 640 plate appearances. He walked nearly 12% of the time and cut his strikeouts down to a mere 18% at the same time. His value on defense isn't really of our concern for fantasy purposes, but Correa simply had a great year in all facets of the game.

He set career highs in homers, runs scored, and WAR (5.8) and was arguably the most consistent hitter in the Astros' lineup all season long. There are not many weaknesses in his game unless you're looking for stolen bases because he's basically stopped running and hasn't swiped a bag since 2019. His Statcast slider is super impressive as he was better than league average across the board, specifically his xBA and xwOBA were elite and prove that he was really stinging the ball and not just getting lucky with hits.

 

Impact of the Move

One of the biggest changes we are likely to see from Correa is where he hits in the lineup for Minnesota. He hit anywhere from first to sixth for the Astros last season but the majority of the time he was slotted into the 5 or 6-hole (96 of his 147 games started). It looks like Minnesota wants to leadoff Byron Buxton and my guess is they slot in Jorge Polanco in the two-spot as he's a great switch-hitting contact hitter who should also get one base. Correa projects to hit third and anchor this Twins offense with some combination of Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Gary Sanchez hitting behind him.

While you could argue that the overall talent around him has decreased a bit, getting bumped up to the three-hole should mean more at-bats this season, and hitting behind Buxton and Polanco should mean plenty of RBI opportunities. Moving out of the AL West and into the Central is probably a wash in terms of the competition he will face on the mound.

There's no way around it, the move to Target Field from Minute Mark Park is an overall downgrade in terms of home run production. The Crawford boxes in Houston are always good for a few cheap homers, but our spray chart here overlayed at Target Field shows that maybe only one of his homers last year doesn't get out of his new stadium. Correa isn't a dead pull hitter anyway as you can see here he hits the ball to all fields and Target Field actually is a boost to doubles hitters as it has yielded the fifth-most doubles to RHH over the last three years. Correa hit 34 two-baggers last year and has the type of gap-to-gap power that should play well here in his new home digs.

 

Fantasy Impact

I don't think the move to Minnesota has all that much overall impact on Correa's numbers one way or the other. Yes, he's coming off a career year but his numbers were really only marginally better than they had been during his career. You know what you're going to get from Correa as his output for his first seven seasons has been super consistent. The ballpark might suppress his HR numbers a bit, but as I mentioned he could make up for that in an increase in doubles and more overall opportunities from being higher up in the lineup.

The Buxton-Polanco-Correa trio is going to be an awesome one if they can all stay healthy (we are looking at you here, Mr. Buxton) and I think Correa is in a good spot to replicate his numbers from last year or even improve on them. He's been playing at a high level and should continue that type of output for the Twins.

He's ranked as the #12 shortstop in our RotoBaller ranks right behind his teammate Polanco. There are some other middle-infielders who are probably sexier picks around that range, but few who are as dependable as Correa. If you don't draft a top-tier shortstop early on, he makes for a great target in rounds 7-9. There's no need to reach for him, though, and if someone else wants to take him early then let them. I think the most likely outcome here in 2022 is more of the same from the ultra-dependable Correa.

 



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