The Minnesota Twins lost to the San Diego Padres, 6-1, Tuesday night in Target Field. The Twins' 19-17 record is still above water and is good enough to have a two-game lead in the AL Central, but that's not enough to keep some displeased fans from letting star shortstop Carlos Correa hear it in the form of boos.
From where he sits, not only does Correa have no issue with it, but he agrees with the fans who booed him. Via The Athletic:
"I'd boo myself, too, with the amount of money I'm making if I'm playing like that and I'm in the stands. Obviously [the booing] is acceptable. It's part of the game, part of sports. Fans want production and fans want a team that's going to compete out there and win games. It's to be expected when you play poorly."
After opting out of his Twins deal at the end of the 2022 season -- and with reported deals with the Giants and Mets falling apart -- Correa came back on a six-year, $200 million deal that contains four club options that could escalate it to a 10-year deal.
The two-time All-Star finished fifth in AL MVP voting in 2021 and has been part of three pennant-winning teams and one World Series champion. He has the resume that says he deserved huge money in free agency, but after the deal is signed, the expectations come with the mega-contract. It's good that Correa recognizes this and publicly is saying all the right things. It was reminiscent of Derek Jeter in 2004 saying, "I don't blame them. We would have booed ourselves tonight, too," regarding Yankees fans booing (via nypost.com).
For the boobirds in Minnesota, the production isn't enough thus far. Correa is hitting .185/.261/.363 (72 OPS+) with 30 strikeouts in 124 at-bats. After 7.2 WAR in 2021 and 5.5 last season, he's sitting with 0.1 so far this season.
Aside from the strikeouts, there's nothing else here to worry about. Correa is hitting the ball hard, he's just hitting it right at people. For example, his hard hit percentage and barrel percentage are higher than they were last season. In fact, the hard hit percentage (the percentage of the balls a batter hits that are at least 95 miles per hour in exit velocity) would be the highest of his career. If you don't like using advanced stats, just picture a dude who keeps hitting the ball hard but right at defenders. Wouldn't you just say to yourself that he's due to break out soon? We've been doing that for decades.
For what it's worth, Correa started slow last season, too, though in a smaller sample. Through 16 games, he was hitting .167/.254/.250. He would hit .307/.381/.496 the rest of the way. Before this season, Correa was a career .279/.358/.479 hitter. He's also still only 28 years old.
Basically, everything points to Correa bouncing back sometime soon to have another productive season. Having the awareness to say that he doesn't blame the fans for booing him is another point in his favor.