Carlos Correa is someone who values advanced stats. He’s spoken about it both on TV and radio and even criticized Derek Jeter’s repeated selection as a Gold Glove winner (perhaps influenced by this article from Bill James?).
So I think Correa might like what I’m going to present here.
Our company tracks all sorts of things related to how a player makes (and fails to make) plays. One of my favorites is our charting a player’s approach to the ball – specifically whether he slid, dove, or jumped to try to make the play.
For curiosity’s sake, I was wondering how shortstops fare and rank when it comes to making plays in this manner. I previously called the slide, dive, and jump combo “telegenic plays” in an article for The Athletic, so we’ll stick with that moniker for now.
And let’s begin with a leaderboard on which Correa’s numbers will jump out.
Most Telegenic Plays Made by Shortstop – 2019 to 2021
|Name||Telegenic Plays Made||Telegenic Attempts||Success Rate|
>> Telegenic Plays – Plays involving a slide, dive, or jump
Correa’s 63 plays made rank second overall, which is impressive given that he ranks 14th in innings played among shortstops in that time.
Additionally, the 62% success rate is much better than everyone else on this list and considerably better than anyone else at the position.
That warrants a little more explanation. A deeper dive if you will.
A Macro Look
How Often Does It Happen?
Shortstops in Last 3 Seasons
|Plays Made||Attempted Plays||Success Rate|
This chart shows how often you might see a shortstop might make a successful diving, sliding, or jumping play, and how often such a play is attempted.
Some takeaways if you do a little math:
* The average team’s shortstops made a 36 diving attempts, 13 sliding attempts and 17 jumping attempts in a season.
* A shortstop dives almost three times as often as he slides and a little more than twice as often as he jumps.
The success rates are listed alongside those numbers. A sliding attempt has a much better chance of getting an out than both a diving attempt and a jumping attempt
This is one of those things that is intuitive, though you probably didn’t know how the percentages played out.
Diving plays are largely hard. Sliding plays and jumping plays don’t necessarily have the same degree of difficulty (among other things, it’s easier to get upright quickly for a throw from a slide than a dive).
Carlos Correa’s Approach
Correa’s numbers are a little different than the average shortstop.
How Often Does It Happen?
Carlos Correa in Last 3 Seasons
|Plays Made||Attempted Plays||Success Rate
(MLB SS Rate)
|Diving Plays||26||47||55% (22%)|
|Sliding Plays||23||28||82% (53%)|
|Jumping Plays||14||26||54% (39%)|
There are a lot of things to take in here and I’ll start with this:
Correa plays the position differently than other shortstops.
If we took Correa’s numbers from 280 games at shortstop these last three seasons and prorated them against MLB averages (There were 5,756 games played the last three seasons), you would get this:
Correa Diving Attempts Per 162 Games 27.2
MLB Average Per 162 games 36.2
Correa Sliding Attempts Per 162 Games 16.2
MLB Average Per 162 games 13.3
Correa Jumping Attempts Per 162 Games 15.0
MLB Average Per 162 games 16.7
Correa dives a lot less than other shortstops do. That’s probably smart (especially given his pending free agency). A diving play is often a tough play. You can waste a lot of energy and put a lot of strain on your body by diving.
We know from our previous studies that injury risk can be increased by the volume of diving, sliding, and jumping. Correa’s been hurt enough over the course of his career. He doesn’t need to raise that risk any higher than it already is.
When Correa dives, his rate of completing a play is extremely high. In watching all of Correa’s dives from the last three seasons I can tell you, there aren’t a lot of wasted ones in there.
One caveat here: Eight of the 26 diving plays made came on ground balls that Correa fielded when he was playing to the first base side of second base in a defensive shift.
In other words, he was playing something resembling a traditional second base, thus making for a shorter throw and a higher out probability.
However, there is only a small difference in how often a dive resulted in an out between second base (26%) and shortstop (22%). The throw is only one component. You still have to reach the ball, which isn’t easy.
We noted earlier that the average shortstop dives nearly 3 times as often as he slides. In Correa’s case, the gap between dives and slides is smaller. It’s only 1.7 times more often (47 vs 28).
Correa likes to slide, relative to other shortstops. And he’s excellent at it, converting 23-of-28 sliding attempts in that time, including 14-of-16 last season.
You can see that Correa is in his comfort zone when he slides to try to make a play. He executes the skid & pop-up very well.
Correa made six sliding plays on nine chances when he was positioned on the first base side of second base, again creating a shorter throw for himself and thus a better chance of recording an out. But even if we take the plays in which he was positioned, he was 17-of-19 when positioned on the shortstop side.
Correa’s also pretty good when he jumps, though the success differential between him and the average shortstop isn’t quite as great as it is for sliding or diving.
Being 6-foot-4 helps.
Correa’s out rate on telegenic plays being higher than other shortstops is a product of a few things.
Since Correa slides more often than others and dives and jumps less often, his overall percentage should be higher, just because of the mathematics behind the maneuvers. Sliding is a more productive manner of out-getting than the other two.
There’s also definitely a component of knowing his body and understanding the risks of a low-probability attempt. Correa seems able to instinctively recognize when he should and shouldn’t leave his feet to make a play. It’s impressive to watch him in action.
And let’s not forget: He’s a really good athlete.
Let’s close with this stat:
Correa has made 63 sliding, diving, and jumping plays on 101 attempts the last three seasons.
By our traditional Defensive Runs Saved calculations, knowing nothing about how he approached the ball, he would have been expected to make 53 plays.
He’s 10 plays above expectations in that time.
No other shortstop rates positively in plays above expectations on their sliding, diving, and jumping attempts.
Carlos Correa – Plays Above Expectations
On Diving, Sliding, Jumping Attempts
|Plays Made||Expected Plays Made||Plays Above Expectations|