Carlos Correa‘s 13-year, $350 million contract with the San Francisco Giants set new records for shortstops in both length and total dollars. It exceeded the amount for any of the other “big four” free agent shortstops (so far, and probably ultimately) this offseason including Xander Bogaerts, Dansby Swanson and Trea Turner.

Debate, if you wish, whether Correa is worth that much of a financial investment. But from whatever angle you take, he gives the Giants a true superstar with considerable postseason experience at a premium position and will provide an upgrade to a lineup that has largely mixed and matched its way to success in three years under manager Gabe Kapler.

However, in fantasy baseball terms — our grand game where absolutely nothing but the player’s raw statistics matter — Correa’s landing spot is far from ideal.

San Francisco’s Oracle Park, Correa’s new home, represents one of the worst hitters’ environments he could’ve picked. Per Statcast’s three-year park factors, it has been the second-worst venue for home runs (73 park factor, meaning it suppressed homers by a whopping 27%) and third-worst overall (95) for all hitters, as well as the second worst both for home runs (76) and overall (95) for right-handed batters. Bear in mind that those numbers encompass the three seasons following the Giants’ decision to shrink the ballpark’s spacious outfield dimensions during the 2019-20 offseason. Even with the adjustment, it’s still a cavernous venue.

In fact, the Giants haven’t seen a 30-homer hitter in any of their past 16 seasons calling Oracle Park their home, and that’s an important plateau to bring up, considering Correa has never reached it himself, having topped out at 26 during the 2021 season. Part of that has to do with his health history — we’ll get to that in a moment — but I look at this partnership between player and team and wonder whether a continual pattern of Correa’s “falling short of (statistical) expectations” — ones which have surely been inflated by his No. 1 overall draft pick status (2012) or postseason prowess (18 homers and .849 OPS in 79 career postseason games) — might tempt the Giants to again shrink their outfield dimensions at some point in the future.

Until then, a healthy Correa has the capability to hit 30 homers, and he’ll probably do so at some point during his soon-to-be-13 seasons in San Francisco. I suspect, however, that it’ll be tough for you or I to guess in which year it happens. The strongest case to make for him in fantasy is that he’s a very good player who will serve as the team’s everyday No. 2 or 3 hitter, something unusual in Kapler’s platoon-oriented lineups. The team finished Kapler’s first three seasons at the helm averaging the eighth- (2020), sixth- (2021) and 11th-most runs per game (2022) in baseball. If he stays healthy, Correa should have little problem replicating the .277/.356/.481 hitting rates or 28 homers per 162 games he has averaged in his eight-year career.

To the health history point, Correa’s injuries are probably an even greater hindrance to his overall fantasy success. He has appeared in more than 110 games in only three of his six full, 162-game campaigns, and has been absent for 22% of his teams’ games in his career, a troubling rate for a player who is still 28. Correa’s injury risk won’t change with the Giants, and the variability between whether he’ll give you 125 or 150 games is enough to make the aforementioned 30-homer bet a dicey one.

Maybe had Correa wound up with the Yankees or Dodgers or Mets, I’d be more optimistic about his prospects of a career year in 2023, with those locations all better for heightening his statistical ceiling. The problem here is that San Francisco is a good pure-baseball destination for him, but it lacks the fantasy upside he’d need to leap ahead of Turner, Bogaerts or Swanson in the rankings — and all three easily outperformed him in every fantasy format last season. We’ll see where Swanson winds up, which might ultimately make my decision between which of the two ranks ninth and which ranks 10th for 2023, but for now it’s a virtual coin flip between the two for me.

The other relevant fallout from Correa’s signing is what becomes of Brandon Crawford. A trade is certainly possible, which would benefit him in fantasy (especially now from a playing-time angle) because of his departure from Oracle Park to almost any better offensive environment, but he could simply shift to third or second base and fall into the matchups-oriented lineup patterns of Kapler’s. Crawford is a better points-based than rotisserie hitter in fantasy, but playing time tends to fuel his scoring, so he’s in real danger of slipping to match his No. 55 positional Player Rater status from last season if he remains in San Francisco.



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Can Carlos Correa reach his potential with Giants?