Believe the hype: Carlos Correa is already a superstar

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Carlos Correa is living up to the hype.

Called up on June 8–almost exactly three years after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Astros out of high school–the 20-year-old shortstop has played at an MVP level for two months despite being the youngest position player in the entire American League.

Correa homered Monday night for the fourth time in four games, giving him a total of 13 homers in 48 career games along with a .297 batting average, 14 doubles, 14 walks, five steals, and a .917 OPS. And he’s looked good defensively, too.

Here are the top OPS totals by shortstops this season:

CARLOS CORREA       .917
Troy Tulowitzki     .835
Brandon Crawford    .819
Jhonny Peralta      .804

And as impressive as it is to sit atop that list, it probably short-changes just how rare it is for a shortstop to be hitting this well while being this young. In the entire history of baseball here are the top OPS totals posted by 20-year-old shortstops with at least 150 plate appearances:

Alex Rodriguez     1.045     1996
CARLOS CORREA       .917     2015
Arky Vaughan        .787     1932
Jose Reyes          .769     2003
Jim Fregosi         .761     1962

I’m sure Correa will come back down to earth at some point or at least experience a slump, but for now he’s leading all MLB shortstops in OPS and the only 20-year-old shortstop in MLB history to out-hit him is Alex Rodriguez.

Everyone knew Correa was going to be good–he was a No. 1 pick and a consensus top-five prospect this season and last season–but for him to be this great this soon is a surprise. And really, that’s the story of the entire Astros team that sits atop the AL West at 60-47.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
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In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.