Astros Lose Carlos Correa For Two Months

Last Friday, the best player in the American League West returned after a nearly two month absence due to a broken left thumb. Today, the Astros announced that maybe the second best player in the AL West is going to miss the next two months due to a broken left thumb.

Trout had the UCL in his thumb repaired, going on the DL on May 29th, and then he returned on July 14th. Assuming Correa’s injury is of similar nature and requires a similar amount of time away, Correa would be looking at a return in early-to-mid September. That would give him a few weeks to get back up to speed before the postseason begins.

While this is a blow to the Astros, the enormous early lead they’ve built allows them to absorb this better than most contenders. With a 15 1/2 game lead over the second place Mariners, their chances of winning the division, even without Correa, are still quite high. The real concern here is whether this is something that might linger and affect him in October.

In Correa’s absence, we’d expect either Alex Bregman or Marwin Gonzalez to take over as the everyday shortstop, with the other manning third base. Both have played the position previously, so it will depend on whether the team prefers to move Bregman back to the position he played in college and the minors, or whether they prefer to keep him at third base, since that’s where he’ll play when Correa returns. Gonzalez’s offensive explosion this year means the team has a reasonable fill-in, regardless of how they line up the defense.

I do wonder if this will nudge the Astros towards adding a corner outfielder at the deadline, however. Gonzalez had drawn 23 starts in left field, his most at any position, and if he’s an everyday infielder now, the team will have to lean more heavily on Nori Aoki or Jake Marisnick. You probably don’t want either of those guys as an everyday player in October, so adding an LF upgrade could provide some insurance for the team’s offense in case Correa’s return doesn’t go as well as hoped, or if the injury saps him of any power after he returns.

The Astros have the benefit of not needing to overreact to this news, but this does add some uncertainty to the mix. Depending on what is available, it’s probably not a bad idea for the Astros to look around for some corner outfielders now, especially if they can find a solid bat who swings from the left side.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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5 years ago

they need to make sure he’s 100% by the playoffs, even if it means holding him out until the last week of the season

5 years ago
Reply to  al_beast

Actually they probably want to get him into a few real games before the playoffs, since there’s no minor league rehab in late September.