What if ….. the 2019 season had started later?

This is just one of those what if’s that bloggers do to fill the time, but it is interesting to think about. We do not know exactly when the season will start in 2020, if it does start, but just for argument sake let’s say it starts on June 1 after two months delay.

Now let’s look at what this might have meant for some important Astros in 2019. How could it potentially have changed how we look at last season?

Cy Young

Based on the full season, this was an extremely close race between Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. If we look at what their seasons looked like from June 1st onward…..not so much.

Stats from June 1st to end of the season:

Verlander –  13-4 / 143.2 IP / 2.76 ERA / 0.844 WHIP / 205 K

Cole  –  15-0 / 140.2 IP / 1.73 ERA / 0.820 WHIP / 214 K

It is not like Verlander collapsed the last 4 months of the season, but Cole was insanely good and would have won the Cy Young in a runaway.

Rookie of the Year

The final results of the vote would have been no different, but it is interesting to see how Yordan Alvarez fared against his two closest competitors for ROY after the June 1st marker. Those two were John Means of Baltimore and Brandon Lowe of Tampa Bay.

Stats from June 1st onward:

Alvarez (who after all came up after the 1st of June) – 58 R / 26 DBL / 27 HR / 78 RBI / .313 BA / .412 OBP / 1.067 OPS

Means – 7-7 / 100.1 IP / 4.04 ERA / 1.16 WHIP / 76 Ks

Lowe – 14 R / 5 DBL / 6 HR / 16 RBI / .256 BA / .341 OBP / .827 OPS

This award would have been the ultimate no-brainer (it was anyways), if only stats after June 1st are considered. It shows just what a spectacular job Alvarez did after his call-up putting up numbers in 87 games that would look pretty darned good over a whole season. Means was solid after June 1st and Lowe missed so much time he might have fallen out of the top 10 of the race completely.

Some Position Player “Stuff” 

Let’s look at what the season would have looked like for three of the players on the Astros.

Stats from June 1 to the end of the season

Jose Altuve  – 68 R / 21 DBL / 23 HR / 53 RBI / .320 BA / .363 OBP / .953 OPS

Carlos Correa – 16 R / 3 DBL / 10 HR / 24 RBI / .244 BA / .355 OBP / .966 OPS

Yuli Gurriel – 59 R / 26 DBL / 27 HR / 84 RBIs / .316 BA / .366 OBP / .982 OPS

The numbers show how much both Altuve and Gurriel turned their seasons around after bad starts by both. Those numbers are stout. Correa’s numbers show how little he contributed over 2/3 of the season, though his OPS was surprisingly high due to a good slugging percentage when he did play.

So, is this just a silly number effort? Does it have any value?

 

22 comments on “What if ….. the 2019 season had started later?

  1. It could be be equally valid to look at how players performed over the first four months of the year and ignore the last two months of 2019. This approach assumes that employees who had a fast start to their season and then tailed off would have done the same regardless of when the season started. And those players who played extremely well in months 5 and 6 of 2019 would not have had that opportunity (assuming regular season wasn’t extended by two months). This comparison would lead to totally different conclusions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree George. It is a bit of a forced comparison. If the season started two months later the injuries that occurred (e.g. Correa and Lowe) might have occurred later in the year. But this is just for fun

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I chose to take it one step farther, Dan. I looked at each player and subtracted their worst two months. You can get some guys into the Hall of Fame that way.

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    • You’re right, but I don’t think we can ever get an apples to apples choosing one period for this. On one hand, choosing to start with opening day gives us a month of weather in Northern cities and Colorado that includes games played in cold weather. On the other hand, choosing from June 1st, 2019, onward gives the players an opportunity to either play into shape or be somewhat worn down by injuries/the grind. Obviously for some players there will be advantages to choosing our windows of comparison one way v. another.

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  2. The immediate “value” is from June until the end, with an “Honest” GM and “Honest” Manager, we watched an incredible team play.

    PLAY BALL.

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  3. I have no idea why I do this to myself…..but I watched game 7 of the 2017 world series and sat there and cried. It was still exciting, but still so sad to know now what they did, and how their name will forever be tarnished. You KNOW I’m desperate for baseball when I did that. I didn’t post on your post about Jimmy Wynn because I never got to see him play, but on the Astros Daily last week there was a picture of a 10yrs old Biggio and Jimmy Wynn standing side by side.
    I thought it was pretty cool knowing that that little boy who was standing next to Jimmy Wynn grew up to play 20yrs with the Astros and is the first guy to go to the HOF with an Astros cap on! Pretty cool picture. Becky⚾

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky
      Jimmy Wynn was our Willie Mays. OK – not as great, but he was an exciting player with power, speed and the ability to play CF. I loved the guy / I wish everyone could have seen him back then. Glad you got to see that picture of Bidge and Jimmy.

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    • Becky, perhaps an old fold can put Jimmy Wynn and what he meant to us in perspective. Can you remember back to 2011-21013 and all those losses? It was so bad, out top rated player might have been Lucas Harrell or Jason Castro. Well the Astros starting in 1962 lost 96.96.96..97, 93 & 90. Then played about .500 ball for 6 more years. Never higher than 3rd place. Wynn was like Yordan, you wanted to see him bat. But what was different, when the other players batted, you might as well be in the beer line or restroom.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. AJ Reed who struggled just as mightily with the White Sox as he did with the Astros has announced his retirement at 26 y.o.
    He never seemed to get into good physical condition and had a swing that seemed to be slow and in the wrong place. I’m surprised he never tried to move back to pitching – he was a pretty darned good pitcher back in college.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reed, Singleton, Preston Tucker, and Tyler White are four of the guys who frustrated me greatly to watch. They never got the mental side of hitting in MLB. For the first two, you’d see them get behind in the count and immediately knew the at bat was going to end poorly. For Tucker, you knew he couldn’t lay off fastballs above his hands and wouldn’t change his swing or approach to fight them off. White, although I guess he’s still potentially going to be a major leaguer, forgot that he got drafted and moved quickly through the minors by getting hits. He should have been Kevin Youklis, but was instead trying to be David Ortiz.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ac 45 and Devin
        – Yes it is disheartening to see someone with supposedly so much talent crash and burn
        – Reed – high draft pick – killed it in the minors, but looked out of shape and slow with the bat at the mlb level – to me the biggest disappointment in the group.
        – Singleton – I think we (and I am certainly in this group) thought he was better than he was because we wanted a good return for Jarred Cosart. His minor league numbers were not that high quality and obviously something (weed?) kept him from ever coming close to earning the $12 million the Astros gave him – and I think they still owe him a $1 million. The swing we saw in the majors only worked on certain pitches – like when you are pitching to a 5 year old and had to do your best to hit his bat…. What a waste
        – Tucker – I just don’t think he had the talent – I mean he was a 7th rounder and made it to the bigs and was below average in a number of tries and he had a very good year last year in the Korean league.
        – Tyler – Yes, I know he has this issue that made him balloon up that just got resolved, but I go with what Devin said – he had been a good hitter in the minors and ended up a terrible slugger in the majors. He needed to get back to being a line drive hitter. On the other hand – how many 33rd rounders ever sniff the majors, much less get 800+ ABs there?

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  5. And Evan Gattis announces what we all expected:
    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/03/evan-gattis-retirement.html

    Evan was part of maybe my biggest in-person thrill at a ball game. I think it was back in 2015 or 2016. My son took me to a game against the Rays. The Astros were winning headed into the 9th and then they blew the lead and the Astros were losing by one heading into the bottom of the 9th.

    Correa led off the 9th and tied it up with a solo HR. Gattis came up and he worked the count and must have gone through 9 or 10 pitches. The pitcher came in with a shoulder high fastball and Evan took one of those lumberjack swings and hit it against the glass in left field. He was completely mobbed and tore his own shirt off (and there were no wires revealed when he did). The place went wild.

    He also had a number of big hits in the teams’ run to the WS, including hitting a HR to start the scoring in the Astros’ 7th game win against the Yanks in the 2017 ALCS.

    Best of luck, Mr. Gattis. Loved having you here.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. TCM has been running baseball movies all day (Stratten Story earlier w/James Stewart). Still going and in about an hour or so, it will be Jackie Robinson Story (first version).

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