It's as if Carlos Correa is building a personal audition tape during these playoffs, showing the full landscape of his talents. There is Correa thumping fastballs aggressively, easily, like he's smashing a sluggish fly with a rolled-up magazine. There is Correa deftly fielding a grounder and confidently starting a double play, over and over. There is Correa, setting his feet and waiting a beat to show off his arm and zoom a throw to first. There is Correa going to the mound to settle a teammate, checking the "leadership" box. There is Correa ignoring pitches off the edges of the strike zone, apparent plate discipline in a month when some players lose their control.
The timing for Correa could not be better, because as the last surviving teams advance through the last two rounds of the postseason, evaluators with other teams are currently in meetings talking about possible acquisition targets -- and the position drawing the most attention is shortstop, given the remarkable class of free agents from that spot about to become available.
The contracts paid out to the quintet of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Trevor Story, Javier Baez and Correa may approach $1 billion, with the aggressiveness of bidders likely being shaped to some degree by how quickly Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agree to the next collective bargaining agreement. (Francisco Lindor would've been a part of this group of free agents, but he signed with the Mets for $341 million last spring.)
In polling conducted in recent days, 11 evaluators ranked these five elite shortstops No. 1 through No. 5 -- including Semien, who switched to second base this year when he joined the Blue Jays after playing shortstop for Oakland for years. If he moves on from Toronto after one year, the wide presumption is he may return to shortstop. The results of the evaluator voting were applied in a simple system of points -- five points when ranked first among the five shortstops, four points for a second-place ranking, etc. -- and you'll see the results below.