Astros History

Houston Astros: Best Offensive 3B Seasons Through the Decades

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Jul 8, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena (18) waves to the fans after hitting a three run game winning home run against the Oakland Athletics in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park. Astros won 10 to 9. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 8, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena (18) waves to the fans after hitting a three run game winning home run against the Oakland Athletics in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park. Astros won 10 to 9. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /
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With Alex Bregman rumored on the cusp of making his debut soon, we look at the past Astros third baseman.

Last time we looked at the early career of Carlos Correa and how his offensive statistics stacked up against the best seasons of Astros shortstops in each decade. That got me to thinking . . . What are the best offensive seasons in each decade of other positions? Today’s analysis – Third Base

When you’ve been an Astros fan as long as I have (40 years), you’ve seen a lot of players come and go at each position. Some become our favorites because of their success, their personality, their grit, or because we identify with them for some other reason. For instance, Doug Rader will always be special to me because he was the Astros regular third baseman during the year I attended my first game (1975).

Ken Caminiti later became a favorite because I admired his cannon-like arm and the way he flung his body all over the place defensively. Denny Walling was a favorite because after being mostly and outfielder during his career he suddenly became a solid half of the “Wal-Gar” third baseman tandem of the 1986 playoff team.

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Before I lay out the statistics, let me make an observation. Third base is one position where there have been very few who have held down the position for an extended period. Bob Aspromonte, Enos Cabell, Ken Caminiti, and Doug Rader are really the only players who manned third base full-time for more than about three years. Others decent tenure on the club, but played other positions or frequently platooned, like Phil Garner and Art Howe.

Just like with shortstop, I’m going to focus more on the traditional third base offensive categories, such as average and power than sabermetrics.

Who will be the Astros third base on this list by the end of this decade? Will it still be Valbuena? Alex Bregman? Colin Moran? Someone else? Who are some of your favorite Astros third base through the years?

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

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