Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros is out with an injury, one that is serious enough to require surgery. Steve Adams, writing at MLB Trade Rumors, used the opportunity to trump up some gossip about Houston. He called the news "devastating injury news" in a Tuesday article. In truth, the "injury news" should not devastate the Astros, provided that Correa returns healthy in the six-to-eight-week time frame.

The reason the matter isn't anything close to "devastating" is because the Houston Astros aren't close to being a team that is all about one player. Since the start of their season, they've earned such a huge edge in the AL West that they could probably coast to a division title even without Correa for six to eight weeks.

The Astros 'only' have a 15.5-game lead in their division after playing two thirds of a baseball season to date. That's the biggest lead in the Major Leagues right now and the Astros look like a cinch to avoid the Wild Card game and get direct entry into the divisional round.

Astros' lead too big to be worried

If you're sidetracked by the fact that they 'could' still lose their huge lead then you're zoned in on all the wrong things. Even if the Seattle Mariners played 1.000 baseball for the next month, which is a totally unrealistic expectation in itself, the Astros would still have a good lead if they played just .550. A .667 team losing one of its key players won't go from the penthouse to the outhouse any time soon.

The concern with Correa has more to do with long-term ramifications and things not going to plan. The injury is to his thumb and if he doesn't return effective then that could dislodge Houston from atop of the World-Series-favorites list. Players certainly don't always return from surgery to play the same way that they did beforehand.

But at present the news regarding Correa is concerning with the phrase "devastating" a little sensationalistic and seemingly independent of a quick look at the standings. If you want to talk about "devastating" then Correa's chances of winning the American League MVP took a large hit. A big-hitting shortstop will always be in the mix, but missing a lot of games will hurt his chances significantly.

In fact, it's likely to take him out consideration in a lot of people's minds.

Astros will still coast to division title

But from a team perspective, the Astros are a deep one and it's not all about their batting order. Losing Correa, their starting shortstop and a player hitting for an OPS of .966 to date, should still have clear effects. Look for this team to play something like .580 for the time that he's gone. Even playing that 'bad' might be good enough to earn some separation in the standings over the other teams in the AL West.

The story of this injury is how well Houston played for the first three and a half months of the season. By never taking anything for granted, they've bought a good insurance policy.

While you never want to lose a star player, if there was ever a time to do it then it's when you hold a 15.5-game lead in your division.

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