For the rest of their lives, Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor are destined to be compared with each other. They are superlative ballplayers born within a year of each other (Lindor is 24, Correa 23), they are both from Puerto Rico, and of course, they are both shortstops.
But they are very different in style and substance. Lindor is less than 6 feet tall, a switch-hitter who runs well and is regarded by evaluators as the better defender. Correa is bigger, with an A-Rod frame, and stronger; he will probably hit a lot more homers in his career and because of that, some executives believe his performance ceiling could be higher.
They are friends, but just as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird measured their own progress according to the standard set by the other during their careers, Correa and Lindor will always naturally push each other — with respect.
In the months leading up to the World Baseball Classic, Puerto Rico GM Alex Cora and manager Edwin Rodriguez faced a potentially difficult situation because of the middle infield riches on their roster, with three incredibly talented shortstops — Correa, Lindor and Javier Baez. That was resolved, Cora later explained, through magnanimity: Correa asked A.J. Hinch and Cora at the outset of spring training if he could prepare to play third base for Puerto Rico. Baez played second, Lindor shortstop, and Puerto Rico reached the championship game.
Two years ago, Lindor served as an anchor to the league champion that played to the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series, before falling. Two months ago, Correa was the anchor to a team that won Game 7 of the World Series — and then he topped it off with a marriage proposal on the field.
Like Bird and Magic, they will probably continue to take turns in the achievement spotlight in the years ahead, and Correa and Lindor top our Top 10 list of shortstops, a ranking based on the input of MLB evaluators, with the help of researchers Mark Simon, Paul Hembekides and Sarah Langs.