1994: Ken Caminiti
The Houston Astros had a great season in the shortened strike year, compiling a 66-49 record. That record had them in 2nd place in the NL Central, only trailing the Cincinnati Reds by half a game for the division lead. What propelled the Astros to that solid record was their hitting, leading the National League in doubles and runs batted in. Besides Jeff Bagwell‘s career year and Craig Biggio‘s always stellar performance, Ken Caminiti had a great year from third base.
Here are his stats from Baseball Reference:
- .283 BA (10th among 3B in MLB)
- .495 SLG (4th among 3B in MLB)
- 115 hits (7th among 3B in MLB)
- 28 doubles (2nd among 3B in MLB)
- 18 home runs (T-5th among 3B in MLB)
- 75 RBI (T-5th among 3B in MLB)
- 63 runs (5th among 3B in MLB)
- Only 9 errors in 108 games played
Recognizing that this was a shortened season and Caminiti’s numbers might not seem as impressive as the other candidates mentioned, I made sure to compare his stats to the other third basemen around the league who played 70+ games that year. Also, I projected what Caminiti’s numbers might have looked like if a 162 game season was played.
My projections came up with 25 home runs, 162 hits, 106 RBI, 89 runs, 39 doubles, and only 13 errors. Considering the numbers that were actually put up and the projections that I made, you have to put Ken Caminiti’s 1994 season as one of the Astros’ all-time best.
I will admit, however, that it’s difficult to realize the impact that Caminiti had when Biggio and Bagwell were both coming up with numbers that season that were simply amazing.
Next: 2003: Morgan Ensberg