June 25, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Carlos Lee (45) celebrates hitting a solo home run against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Next on my list is a player that many people grew to dislike. Carlos Lee signed a 6-year, $100 million deal that never did bring the success that fans wanted – a world series championship. Arguably two of his best seasons in the majors came during his tenure with the Astros. While it is true that Lee fell off significantly in production in the 5th and 6th years before being traded for Matt Dominguez, Lee was well past his prime.
In terms of OPS+, Lee’s best season came in 2008. A year in which Houston became fully against the tactics of Bud Selig, Lee hit for a .314/.368/.569 slash line. In just 115 games he managed to drive in 100 runs while mashing 28 home runs. Given that his season fell short in games played, I have decided to include the 2007 season as his best. And due to that designation on my part, Carlos Lee’s 2007 season is one of the best all-time in Astros’ history. One of his 19 career triples came out of the 2007 season. Overall Lee’s slash-line was .303/.354/.528. This was all despite setting a career-high in double plays with 27 of them. Baseball-reference normalizes his OPS+ to 125 for this year’s performances.
Lee was simply a great hitter in his career. In 14 seasons he struck out only 984 times against 655 walks. Sixty of those were intentional. Overall that equates to an 12.32% K rate – signs of a completely different era than the one the Astros are currently playing.
Next: 1983: Jose Cruz