The Astros, of course, had one of their most successful seasons in history, with 106 regular season wins and 11 postseason wins on the way to the World Championship. Along with receiving that wonderful trophy, the Cy Young and Comeback Player of the Year by Justin Verlander, the ALDS MVP by Yordan Alvarez, and the ALCS and WS MVPs by Jeremy Pena, the whole team is breathless waiting for the announcement of the 2022 ChipalattAwards.
Well, here we go….
The pitching stats for the 2022 regular season look exactly like this:
|Name||Gm||W||L||Svs||IP||ERA||WHIP||HR||Ks/9 IP||BAA||OBPA||OPSA||IR/ IS|
Note – I added the IR (Inherited runners) / IS (Inherited runners who scored) stat for the relievers.
Starting Pitcher of the Year. Justin Verlander – Having watched so much of JV since he arrived from Detroit in 2017, what he did in 2022 has almost been taken for granted. But, it was one of the great pitching seasons of the last half-century and it came from a 39-year-old coming off of TJ surgery. It was amazing and a season that no one in a similar spot will likely ever match.
Runner-up. (Tie) Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier – Valdez was terrific, and his 25 straight quality starts (6 or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) emphasized what a rock he was in this rotation. He led the team in starts, complete games, and innings pitched. Javier, while swinging between starting and the bullpen, had the second-best ERA and WHIP of the starters. And Javier was part of a shared no-hitter during the regular season, which he repeated in the post-season.
Relief Pitcher of the Year. – Ryan Pressly – He saved 33 of 37 opportunities and seemed to really get rolling down the stretch and into the postseason. While Montero picked up the saves when Pressly was not available – Pressly was the sure thing to end games when he was available.
Runner-up. (Tie) – Rafael Montero and Ryne Stanek – Stanek walked more people than we wanted, but that was about the only complaint as he put up the historically low ERA. Montero developed into the backup closer and was a very reliable set-up man after never having done this successfully before.
Special Staff Award – If you drop the long-gone Pedro Baez, who only pitched in two games, and Ronel Blanco the highest ERA of the other 20 pitchers who appeared for the team, was 3.94. That is insanely good and unmatched in the Astros’ history.
Now as far as the offensive stats go….
Positional Player of the Year. – Yordan Alvarez – He led the team in “slash” .306 BA/ .406 OBP/ 1.019 OPS, runs (95) and HRs (37). He was the closest he has been to his rookie season
Runner-up. (Tie) Jose Altuve/ Kyle Tucker/ Alex Bregman – I know I am cheating on the runners-up and ties, but that is one of the perks of writing this blog. I throw anything out there, and you get to tell me how wrong I am. Altuve had a terrific year, especially down the stretch, as he reached a .300 BA on his last game of the year. Tucker led the team in RBIs and put up a 30/30 season. Bregman overcame a couple of years of injuries and became an effective run producer again.
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Jeremy Pena – We thought Pena could be pretty good, and he struck out more and walked less than we would want, but for a rookie, he did the best imitation of Carlos Correa we could expect for $700K.
Runner-up. Rafael Montero – 2022 was a brilliant bolt from the sky in a career of mediocrity for Montero. He became a key cog in the best bullpen in the league.
Biggest Disappointment. Yuli Gurriel – After winning the batting title in 2021, all of a sudden, he turned back into the pumpkin he had been in the shortened 2020 season. His uptick in the playoffs confuses the issue of whether the Astros should pursue him this off-season.
Runner-up. Trey Mancini – Based on his career numbers, the time he spent with the Astros after his trade in both the regular and postseason were a total disappointment.
Stats of note:
- The BABIP (Batting average ball in play) for two of the best Astros – Alex Bregman (.260) and Kyle Tucker (.261) points to some better times to come. The average BABIP tends to land around .300, so the team may be able to look forward to some even stronger seasons from these two big bats if their luck tends back toward average.
- The average slash for hitters in the majors in 2022 was .243 BA/ .312 OBP/ .706 OPS. Only five of their pitchers – Jose Urquidy, Jake Odorizzi, Will Smith, Pedro Baez, and Enoli Paredes gave up higher-than-average BA’s. Only Odorizzi, Smith, Blake Taylor, Brandon Bielak, Baez, and Paredes gave up higher-than-average OBP’s. Only Urquidy, Odorizzi, Phil Maton, Smith, Bielak, and Baez gave up higher-than-average OPS’s. This meant that in the playoffs, the only pitcher they used who had allowed higher than average in any of these categories was Urquidy and he was barely above.
- Even more important than having all five starters in double digits in wins was having no one on the staff in double digits in losses.
- Yes, he was only playing part-time. And his knee was apparently falling apart, but Jason Castro’s likely final season in the majors ended with an insanely bad slash of .115 BA/ .205 OBP/ .384 OPS. If this was the end, then it was a bit of a sad farewell. He did launch a game-winning home run in his last at bat, so we will concentrate on that.
- Dusty Baker got the World Series gorilla off his back. He passed the 2000 career win mark. Looking forward – he will catch Joe McCarthy with 32 more wins, Bucky Harris with 65 more wins and Sparky Anderson with 101 more wins – Hall of Famers all.
As usual, it is your turn to comment. Any awards you disagree with? Any new ones you want to award?