One of the most enjoyable parts of fantasy sports in debating which players are better than others. We’ve all done it. You’re hanging out with some friends, probably enjoying a beer or two, and you get into a long discussion over which player is better than another one. Sometimes it might get heated, but that’s okay. We aren’t all going to agree on every single player. That would make fantasy leagues incredibly boring.
The same can be said here at Fantrax. We have a great group of writers and podcasters (that might not be a word but who cares) who are all very knowledgeable, but we don’t always agree. So we figured we’d have some good ol’ fashion debates about two players that are close in potential 2018 fantasy value.
Today we tackle the two top dogs at the shortstop position, Carlos Correa and Trea Turner. Both are under 25, in great lineups, and flat out oozing studly fantasy potential. Both are currently flying off draft boards before pick 15, and something tells me both will be even higher in 2019 drafts. So, who should you take between Correa and Turner? Let’s get this debate started.
Previous Staff Debates
Carlos Correa vs. Trea Turner
Tale of the Tape
Eric Cross (@EricCross04)
Before I go any further, there are no wrong answers here. Both shortstops are likely going to return insanely high value and be fantasy studs from opening day through October. However, in my mind, one of these two players reigns supreme, and if you’ve been following my 2018 positional rankings, you’ll know who it is.
Let me start with Turner. The speed he brings to the table is truly an asset. Turner was on a 76-steal pace in 2017, but was unfortunately limited to 412 at-bats. Over a full season, there’s a legit chance we have our first 70-steal season since Jacoby Ellsbury did so with Boston in 2009. And hitting first or second in front of Bryce Harper should lead to 100+ runs to go with a batting average near or above .300.
However, speed is the only area where you can give the nod to Turner. The other four 5×5 categories all go to Correa, and in two, it’s not even close. Correa also had his season cut short due to a torn thumb ligament that cost him a month and a half of action. As someone who had Correa in many leagues, that was like a kick to the gut followed by a body slam through a table. Correa was on pace for 37 home runs, 124 RBIs, 118 runs, and a .320 average at the time he got injured.
Those numbers I just rattled off might just be the tip of the iceberg. Correa is still only 23 and just scratching the surface of his Hall of Fame potential. Correa was able to sustain a near 40-homer pace without hitting a high percentage of balls in the air. His 31.7 FB% ranked 196th in the Major Leagues amongst the 261 players with at least 300 at-bats last season. If Correa continues to hit the ball as hard as he has been and adds more loft to his swing, 50 bombs aren’t out of the question to go along with a strong average and 200+ RBI/R hitting in the middle of a potent Astros lineup.
In addition to the additional power potential, there’s plenty of room for improvement on the bases, too. Correa stole only two bases after swiping 13 the year before. He doesn’t have the wheels of Turner, but he is quick enough and smart enough to swipe upwards of 25 bags per season. Even without more speed, I’m taking Correa as my top fantasy shortstop this season. And if he starts running more, this debate might not even be close at this time next season.
Ryne Mikins (@Ryhhno)
For this one, I have to go with the World Series champ. Correa has been in the conversation as one of the game’s best shortstops over the past three seasons. Though he’s appeared in more than 110 games just once, he’s managed to put up some solid numbers. He’s averaged 22 homers in his first three seasons and posted a career-high of 24 in 109 games last season.
Correa also slashed career highs in average (.315), OBP (.391), and SLG (.550). Had he not missed time to injury, his home run totals could have pushed the 30 mark. Correa benefited from hitting in the middle of a star-studded lineup. He had plenty of opportunities to drive in runs, totaling 84 RBI and scoring 82 times.
He was able to maintain his solid 11 percent walk-rate while also dropping his strikeout-rate to 19.1 percent. Correa’s OPS was his biggest improvement over 2016, jumping from .811 to .941. Despite missing time, Correa managed to post the highest hard contact mark of his career at 39.5 percent. His numbers were impressive, and if he can keep the same pace over a full season, he’ll be in the conversation for best shortstop in the league.
While Turner’s ceiling is just as high, he’s yet to prove that he can stay on the field. He’s yet to appear in over 98 games in his young career, which has to make you cautious of his durability. When on the field, the biggest part of Turner’s game is his speed. He swiped 46 bags in just 98 games last year, getting thrown out just eight times.
Deciding between Correa and Turner is really a matter of how much you value that speed. If you’re looking for a reliable on-base guy at the top of the order, Turner is your man. However, if you’re looking for the guy that is consistently getting on base and driving in runs, it’s Correa.
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Keith Farnsworth (@fantasy_keith)
First, let me start by saying I’d be happy to draft either Trea Turner or Carlos Correa this season. Who wouldn’t be, really? That’s not the debate, though. The debate is who would you rather have, and for that, a lot of this boils down to your appetite for risk. Correa is all but guaranteed to help your team and has an unbelievably high floor for a 23-year-old. Turner, on the other hand, has some fairly large concerns, but the upside may just be too large to ignore.
Neither of the two was able to play in more than 110 games in 2017, suffering from injury-shortened seasons. Correa has a small advantage over Turner from a track record standpoint. His sample size on the big leagues is 82% larger than Turner’s. Correa also has a safer hit tool, better plate skills, and more power.
Turner takes the lead, though, when it comes down to a foot race, and quite honestly, runs away with it. Turner stole 46 bases last year in fewer than 100 games, which ranked third overall for the entire league. His upside is incredible. The scary thing is that he doesn’t have to get better to have a shot at being the best player in fantasy baseball in 2018.
Turner just has to continue to do what he has done in his entire, extremely short, career. Twenty-one home runs, 67 steals, 109 runs, 71 RBI, and a .304 batting average ( Turner’s 162-game career average) isn’t even the best-case scenario for Turner in 2018. There is still projected growth. This upside is real, but so is the risk for a young player who has struggled to stay on the field.
The question you have to ask yourself is this: “Will you be happy with second place?” Picking Turner that high in the draft most likely won’t result in a second- or third-place finish. Oversimplifying, yes, but I’d estimate that type of risk/reward sets up for a first place or bust type scenario. For me and my money, I’m taking Turner for the win.
Ryan Cook (@RyanCook13)
If the Astros were ever to win a World Series, you knew Carlos Correa would need to have an impact. I could write a short testimonial on the 23-year-old’s home run heroics against the Dodgers, but Correa is also one of those special players that can also have a huge impact when he isn’t at the plate.
With a torn ligament in his thumb, Correa hit the DL on July 18, leaving Alex Bregman and Marwin Gonzalez to fill the void. That void proved to be a gaping hole, as the Astros went 11-17 in August while Correa rested. Fantasy owners felt the pinch, too. However, once Correa returned on September 3, we were reminded yet again just how superhuman he can be.
In his final 25 regular season games, Correa hit .299 with four home runs, 17 RBI, and two stolen bases. Those numbers pushed his overall home run total to 24, a career high, and more impressively left his RBI count just 12 shy of his 2016 total (96). It’s safe to say if Correa played a full season, we’re talking MVP. Even so, here’s a spoiler alert: a decrease in line drive and groundball rate plus a spike in HR/FB and hard-hit rate could and should translate to 2018 honors.
Van Lee (@ManlyVanLee)
I struggled with this one. I really did. I fully believe that if this were a dynasty pick, it’s a much easier choice and I go with Correa, simply because I believe he’s an all-world, game-changing talent. But if we are talking redraft leagues, and we are here, then I think Turner’s elite speed gives him the edge. I’ve gone over it before in these discussions, and I’ll do it again today: speed is just that much of a premium, and I’m OK paying the price for it in most regards.
Over the past two seasons, Turner has put up an average .309/.351/.501 line with 12 homers and 40 steals. That average comes out to just under 400 plate appearances a season. If Turner keeps the production up over a best-case 650 PA season, he’s looking at 20 homers and 67 steals. If we take Correa’s 650 PA averages over the same span, we’re looking at a line of .291/.373/.492, with 25 homers and nine steals. So if it plays out where both of these guys have their best seasons, then you’re going to have nearly the same home run output, while Turner blows the stolen bases out of the water.
Now, that math and projection argument is also very subjective. Turner has had a smaller plate appearance average due to injury last year and not being full time in 2016. Correa has been a steady performer for much longer, so the safety factor is a bit higher in his case. I also didn’t take into account the ability to get on base, which highly favors Correa and again adds to the safety of his pick. But for now, Turner gives me no reason to think he’s enough of a liability to scare me off from a mid-first round pick. That stolen base potential is just so immense that it’s worth the “gamble.”
Overall Fantrax Verdict: Carlos Correa 5-4
|Carlos Correa||Andy Singleton, Anthony Franco, Eric Cross, Ryan Cook, Ryne Milkins.|
|Trea Turner||Keith Farnsworth, Mick Ciallela, Nathan Dokken, Van Lee.|
Thank you for reading and we hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question that we didn’t cover here? Then follow us on Twitter (handles above) and ask there.