The Astros enter 2020 after an off-season of more loss than addition. The players that were with the team at the end of the 2019 regular season that have moved on include Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Robinson Chirinos, Jake Marisnick, Collin McHugh, Will Harris, Hector Rondon and Aaron Sanchez.
This discussion has occurred before. Baseball’s players’ unions and the MLB owners have bumped heads over the years and folks have wondered if these collisions would bring baseball to its knees.
We are in the depths of baseball boredom right now. So, the only thing to do is for Dan P to stand up and tip his head over and see what thoughts pour out.
This is always a ridiculous proposition for any team. How do you pick four folks from an organization and honor them with a place on Mount Rushmore from what is 50 to 100+ seasons depending on the organization? So, we are going to try to make this it a little easier by imagining that there are multiple Mount Rushmores to populate from the 58 seasons of Astros’ baseball. This will still be tough, but not as tough as it could have been…
There have been tons of baseball numbers featured since Bill James created the new industry of sabermetrics in the 1970s. One of the harder to understand but heavily used numbers thrown around has been WAR (Wins Above Replacement). In general terms, this is how much value (how many wins) a major league player is worth to their teams as compared to a minor league call-up. Of course, when the MLB player is Tyler White (-1.3 WAR) and his replacement is Yordan Alvarez (3.7 WAR)….well that is surely a good example of why a player needs replacement.
Baseball is driven by individual stats. Yes, the idea is to have the best team at the end of the day, but having a bunch of individually excellent players is one of the surest ways to get there. And of course in these unusual times of “IT” everyone’s plans of adding to their well earned career statistics is on hold as much as everyone’s dreams of taking that long planned summer vacation.
So what are some of the larger stats that will be delayed for later in the 2020 season (assuming it happens) or moved off into future seasons for some of the Astros’ players?
- Jose Altuve – Jose is sitting at 299 doubles at the moment, so the next time he smacks one in the gap or down the line he will be up to 300 in his career. This does leave him only half way to Craig Biggio’s club record of 668. For the club he sits 10th in career games played at 1243. He should catch #9 Brad Ausmus (1259), but will have to wait to catch #8 Bob Watson (1381). He won’t be moving up from 7th place in runs scored (734 vs. 829 for #6 Jimmy Wynn), but should move up from #10 in RBIs (538 vs. 546 for Ken Caminiti). With a 200 hit pace he has a shot to move out of 6th place in hits (1568 vs. 1648 for #5 Lance Berkman and 1659 for #4 Cesar Cedeno). And unfortunately, he may move into #2 in grounded into DPs (144 vs. 150 for Craig Biggio), though Jeff Bagwell’s club record of 221 GIDP is very safe.
- Justin Verlander – About 3 or 4 starts into his 2020 season, JV (2982 IP) should hit the 3000 IP mark. He is currently sitting at 70th place all time in the majors with 225 wins. If he had repeated his 2018 or 2019 seasons success he might have caught Juan Marichal (243 W) for 56th place. Instead he will probably be chasing Whitey Ford (236 W) for 63rd place.
- George Springer – George is sitting at 160 HRs on his career and in 7th spot with the Astros. He will be chasing both #6 Cesar Cedeno (163) and #5 Glen Davis (166) and should catch them both. #4 Jimmy Wynn (223) was always out of reach.
- Michael Brantley – Brantley had a good shot at reaching the 1500 hit plateau as he currently has 1374 career hits, but that shot has now moved out into the future.
- Zack Greinke – Greinke with 2872 IP was on pace to hit the 3000 IP mark this season, but that will have to wait for another year. He was poised to make a huge leap on the career win chart. He currently sits at #107 with 205 wins. A 15 win season would have moved him all the way to a tie with #79 Jerry Reuss (220 wins). Now he is more likely chasing John Smoltz (213 wins) for 93rd place.
- Alex Bregman – Alex enters 2020 with 99 career home runs, so the first time he has a chance to pose, he will be at the 100 HR mark.
- Roberto Osuna – Amazingly, Osuna’s 50 saves has him in a tie for 9th on the Astros’ all time list with Ken Forsch. He will have a good shot to pass Ken Giles (#8 with 61) and Doug Jones (#7 with 62), but he is likely not catching Jose Valverde (#6 with 69).
So, these are just a few of the milestones that have been delayed or postponed due to “IT”. Thoughts?