Houston Astros Hypothetical – which team is better?


A brief comparison between the 1998 and 2005 Houston Astros with the 2017 squad.

With all the excitement around the new Houston Astros lineup in 2017, let’s see how we compare to Astros teams of old. Not to jinx this current squad, the 2017 great rainbow hitting machine seems to be match up very well against some of the best Astros teams in history.

Let’s dive in and see which team is better of recent memory:

Which team is better? 2005 Astros vs. 2017 Astros

Comparing the 2017 lineup with the best the Astros EVER had, we’ll have to start with the best team Houston had – their 2005 National League champions.

Our best team, however, wasn’t our best HITTING team but just for fun, let’s have a look at the 2005 lineup, courtesy of WhatIf Sports:

The lineup

The rotations.

First things first, since all Astros teams of yore – or at least pre-2013 – were national league teams and most of those games featured a pitcher in every game. But fair is fair.

The 2005 team was probably best known for its pitching with Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, and Andy Pettitte anchoring the staff. The Astros hitting in 2005 is probably best known for giving Clemens the worst run support any Cy Young winning pitcher had ever had.

This lineup featured a great blend of speed and clutch hitting behind the power of Ensberg (36 HRs), Lane (26 HRs), doubles-machine Biggio (26 HRs), and Berkman (24 HRs).

With a collective batting average of .256 anchored by Berkman (.293), Ensberg (.283) and Taveras (.291), the 2005 team always had a knack for getting the hit at the right time. Combine that with 115 team stolen bases (34 stolen bases from Taveras and 21 from Everett). This squad always knew how to put up a fight.

If one had to look with a magnifying glass in comparing the two teams, it would no doubt end up as follows:

Pitching Edge: 2005 Astros

Hitting Edge: 2017 Astros

Edge Overall: 2017 Astros, given the Astros pitching, returns to 2015 form and the overall veteran leadership and young talent this team has, it’s hard to bet against them.

Which team is better? 1998 Astros vs. 2017 Astros

Ah, the 1998 Houston Astros – the cream of the cream. Arguably, the best Houston Astros team to grace a baseball field. This team had it all: pitching, hitting and the determination to win it all.

That is before Kevin Brown came into the picture. But we won’t get into that.

The 1998 Houston Astros team featured a juggernaut lineup as follows:

The lineup.

Future Hall-of-Famer Bagwell was hitting to the tune of 38 home runs, 111 RBIs, and a .304 average. Also, Alou (38/124/.312), Bell (22/108/.314) and Biggio (20/88/.325) joining the charge, the 1998 team could mash!

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With a combined team average of .280, hitting 166 home runs and 818 RBI’s, the 1998 National League Central winners were a force to reckon with.

The rotation.

Combine the hitting behind the pitching of Shane Reynolds (19-8, 3.51 ERA), Jose Lima (16-8, 3.70), Mike Hampton (11-7, 3.36) and the mid-season acquisition Randy Johnson (10-1, 1.28). The 98 Astros staff were every bit as good as advertised.

Let’s compare the 2017 squad to the 1998 team:

Pitching Edge: 1998 Astros

Hitting Edge: 2017 Astros

Edge Overall: 1998 Astros. While they did fall way short of expectations, I’d have to say the 1998 Houston Astros team – on paper – was the better team, although time will tell…

Next: Astros: Carlos Beltran tells fans to get ready for 2017

The numbers of the 2017 team have yet to be determined. But suffice it to say, the combined hitting of Carlos Correa, Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick, Jose Altuve, Brian McCann and full seasons of Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman will have the Minute Maid Park sandbox bursting at the seams.

It’s time to make the Astros teams of the past proud.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***