After many struggles and injuries along the way, the Astros offense is becoming one of the best in baseball, reminding folks of their championship team. In 2017, they led all of baseball in almost everything. They were first in the majors with 5.53 runs/game, .282 BA, .346 OBP, .478 SLG and .823 OPS. They were first with 1581 hits, 346 doubles and a “shameful” second in HRs with 238, while striking out 1087 times, the least in the majors.
In 2019, they have been working their way to the top, while having to overcome the following:
- Thirty-five games missed by Jose Altuve with a knee injury, who was also hitting a very un-Altuve .243 BA when he went down
- Twenty-seven games missed by George Springer with a hamstring pull when he was in the midst of an MVP start to the season
- Fifty games missed by Carlos Correa with a rib injury, while he was in the midst of an All-Star worthy season
- Forty-seven games missed by Aledmys Diaz who was playing very well in his super-sub role when he went down with a hamstring pull
- Having to play Tyler White for 71 games where he put up a paltry 3 HRs and 21 RBIs
- Having to play Max Stassi 31 games where he only accounted for 1 HR and 3 RBIs
- And of course the 16 games Jack Mayfield (.143 BA / .472 OPS) and the 9 games Garrett Stubbs (.160 BA / .422 OPS) played in did not help the overall offensive stats.
But now all the wounded are back and importantly, Yordan Alvarez (17 HRs and 51 RBIs in 46 games with a .355 BA / 1.164 OPS) has come up and been a revelation. When you are being mentioned in the same breath as super rookies like Albert Pujols (.329 BA/ 1.014 OPS – 37 HR and 130 RBIs in 161 games) and Ted Williams (.327 BA / 1.045 OPS – 31 HRs and 145 RBIs in 149 games) that is some achievement.
The Astros are not quite the juggernaut (yet) over the whole season as they were in 2017, but consider the following:
- They are 1st in the majors with .275 BA/ .350 OBP/ .839 OPS
- They are 2nd in the majors in slugging with .489 SLG and third in HRs (198) and 4th (but rising) 5.53 runs/game
- In the 27 games since they were shutout by the Rangers on July 11th, they have averaged 7.22 runs per game
- In that time they have not scored less than 2 runs in any game
- The AL average in hitting is .254 BA / .323 OBP / .762 OPS
- The Astros have 9 players hitting over that .254 BA mark and 6 hitting over .290 BA
- They have 8 players getting on base above that .323 OBP mark and 6 over .360 OBP
- They have 10 players over the .762 OPS mark with 6 over .870 OPS
- The Astros could easily have 11 players with 10 or more HRs and 7 with 20 or more HRs by the end of the season
- They could also have 7 players with 70 or more RBIs by the end of the season
The bottom line is that with Alvarez, Altuve, Springer, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel and Correa the Astros have a core of 7 players that every team would envy. Add to this solid support from Josh Reddick and Jake Marisnick with occasional knocks by Robinson Chirinos and Martin Maldonado and this is a team that seems to be flipping the lineup and bringing up the tough hitters every inning.
Will this offense do what the 2017 version did and lead the Astros to another World Series championship? There is a lot of road to cover before that happens, but they seem to have built an offense where anything is possible.