Giving awards to the worst Houston Astros team in their history is a little bit like giving an award to the smartest student in the remedial math class. That being said, I do feel like there is reason to recognize the best (and worst) Astros players from the 2013 season. I will start at the top with the Team MVP and work my way down.
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Astros MVP: Jason Castro is the obvious choice for MVP. He led the team in WAR (4.3), and was second among American League catchers in that category. He was also third among AL catchers in home runs and on-base percentage.
Offensive MVP: Sure Chris Carter had a 36.2% strikeout rate and finished with the most strikeouts in franchise history. He also managed to hit just .223. I picked him, however, because of his 29 home runs and 82 RBI. Carter also ended the season with a .320 OBP and slugged .451, which was second among Astros hitters with at least 300 at-bats.
Defensive MVP: One could definitely make an argument for Matt Dominguez, but Brandon Barnes is not only the best defensive player on the team, but one of the best outfielders in all of baseball. He made plays on 91% of the balls in his zone, as well as 84 balls outside of his zone. I’m sure he had at least 10 Web Gems this season, but I can’t back that up because I hardly ever watch ESPN.
Best Pitcher: Do I have to? I would take Brett Oberholtzer, but I really wanted to pick a pitcher that had thrown at least 100 innings. So, I’ll have to go with Erik Bedard…Yikes! Bedard had a 4.59 ERA and walked 4.47 batters per nine innings. I decided on him, however, because of his 8.23 K/9 rate and his 1.4 WAR. Actually, I chose him because Bud Norris was traded and left me with no other options.
Most Versatile: Jake Elmore is the first player in Astros’ franchise history to play all nine positions in a single season. That, you already knew. But did you know that he is also a choreographer (thanks Jayne)?
Biggest Chaw: He has been a finalist for several awards already, but there’s no doubt that this award was made just for Brett Oberholtzer.
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Best Beard: Dallas Keuchel was on-and-off with the beard all season long. He definitely has a distinguished chin, so many prefer the beardless look. But when he grows the brush out, it is a well-manicured object of beauty.
Biggest Disappointment: I really expected Jordan Lyles to take a major step forward in 2013 and he failed me, but I’ll still have to go with Lucas Harrell here. After a fantastic 2012 season, I never questioned that Harrell had what it takes to be a major league starter. He managed to prove me wrong. Harrell walked 5.15 hitters/9 and finished the season with a 5.86 ERA. He ended up being demoted to the bullpen, and yet Bo Porter still managed to give him the team-high in innings pitched.
Most Destructive: Jimmy Paredes managed to collide with two second basemen in a week’s span. He sublexed Jose Altuve‘s jaw on one play, and cost the Astros a game on the second one. No one is safe when this guy’s on the field!
Most Undeserving of a Job: No contest. Hector Ambriz.
Let’s hope that next season’s team awards are a bit more inspiring!