You can chalk it up to small sample sizes, but for Midwest League pitchers, retiring Carlos Correa with runners on base has become something of a white whale.
The Class A Quad Cities shortstop continued that trend Monday, collecting three hits and four RBIs in an 11-4 rout of Clinton.
Correa, ranked 28th on MLB.com's Top 100, raised his average to .284 for the season -- his first full professional year campaign since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Houston Astros last summer.
The Astros' No. 2 prospect has been especially dangerous in key situations, hitting .397 with a .537 on-base percentage and a 1.140 OPS in 63 at-bats. In those 51 at-bats in which men have been in scoring position, he's hitting .412 with a 1.134 OPS.
The timely hitting has allowed him to drive in 28 runs in 37 games. He has three homers and eight extra-base hits and has managed an .817 OPS overall.
As the weather has warmed in Midwest League ballparks, so too has Correa. The shortstop hit just .221 in April. But he drew 15 walks in 18 April games, allowing him to post a .384 on-base percentage.
In May, he's batting a robust .342, and the biggest difference is that he's putting more balls in play. In 68 April at-bats, the 18-year-old struck out 23 times. In 73 at-bats so far in May, he's cut that number to 10.
It appears the youngster has made precisely the adjustment his manager, Omar Lopez, wanted him to make at the beginning of the month.
"It's not that he's chasing the ball or he's got a bad approach or that he's overmatched," Lopez told MiLB.com on May 9. "Sometimes he's too anxious. He's 18 and anxious. He needs to be more under control. I understand. He probably has high expectations and high goals for this season -- we don't."
Monday's multi-hit effort was Correa's fourth in his past 10 games, during which time he's hitting .308 with an .849 OPS. He drove in his first run Monday on a groundout in the third inning. In the fifth, he roped an RBI double on a line drive to right field. Correa scored the next at-bat when Miles Hamblin singled to center field.
Leadoff man Austin Elkins and Jobduan Morales added three hits for Quad Cities, and Hamblin finished with a homer, two hits and two RBIs.