All Things Astros and a whole lot more
Numbers and statistics can be misleading. Some tell better stories than others and some are absolutely meaningless. Still others can be manipulated or twisted to support most any story. That’s why there are varying interpretations and arbitrators, and that’s why reasonable people reach different conclusions.
When you look at the Astros over the past few years, the numbers aren’t great at all. When you look a little deeper, it becomes a bit unsettling, if not horrifying.
I’m a champion of establishing a long-term plan, sticking to the plan and making a commitment to personnel. Of course, part of the success of that philosophy is finding good personnel, investing in them, sticking with them and providing good support. In other words, give them all the tools to succeed and set them up for success. For example, I’d be quite happy if Gerry Hunsicker and Larry Dierker were still in charge. I’d be good with Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies calling TV and radio.
But since 2000, the Astros have not done a good job building that foundation and establishing long-term viability and stability. Instead, the organization has moved from crisis to crisis. And it started long before Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow showed up on the scene. The plans, the maneuvers, the personnel decisions, the relationships, the goals and the philososphies have been all over the map. Thus, the horrid numbers, stats, timelines, releases, trades, firings, empty seats, lawsuits, restarts, steps back and, of course, on-field losses.
Here are some of the numbers, both startling and certainly eye-opening. These are the numbers since 2000:
And the staggering numbers continue. Regardless of how the outfield settles in, it will likely be the fifth consecutive completely different opening day outfield. Fifth. Consecutive. Completely. Different. Think about that. That means that 12 different players have started in the opening day outfield since 2011. Not a one of them has stuck to start the next season.
Only Grossman and Hoes have a chance to break the string, but that’s slim.
Only Jason Castro (3), Jose Altuve (3) and Matt Dominguez (2) have consecutive opening day streaks alive. As for All Stars, the last time an Astros’ pitcher was named to the team was 2007. The last time more than the obligatory, required one player made the team was 2009 (Pence, Tejada).
Taking in all of these numbers, it’s a bit disconcerting to note that some of these trends may continue for another 2-3 years. The outfield will likely change again to start next season, though George Springer should be a back-to-back representative. There’s a good possibility that shortstop will see its eighth consecutive different opening day starter in 2016 if Carlos Correa reaches Houston.
Of course, there have been highlights. There was a World Series, Houston added a member to the Hall of Fame (Craig Biggio) and featured its first batting title winner (Altuve) last year.
Still, the Astros need to build stability and foster an atmosphere of growth and a trend upward. But spring-boarding off Dan’s weekend post on Luhnow’s risk factors, here are a few key areas where the Astros should focus to establish stability.
They say you can tell where a man or a team is going by looking to see where they have been. If you take the past 15 years, there’s a mixed bag of numbers, statistics and anecdotal narratives. The next five years will tell whether the downward spiral has been completely reversed or if the dark ages will continue for Houston baseball.
What say you?