The Astros have clinched yet another divisional title and are about to eclipse their record number of wins. Is this 2019 offense the best Houston has seen?
Houston hasn’t relinquished first place since April 28, 129 straight days of leading the division. The Astros currently sit at 102 wins with six games yet to play, one shy of last season’s record 103 victories. We have already established that this team rivals the 1927 Yankees as one of the best overall teams in MLB history.
What this offense has accomplished this year has a lot to do with their successful 2019 campaign. When comparing year over year batting stats for the Astros since their existence, this current team ranks up there with the best in Houston’s history, if not the best.
The Astros slash line of .276/.354/.497 and a .851 OPS are the best in the Majors this season across the board, as is their 120 OPS+. Although there is still a week worth of baseball left this season, the Astros also lead all teams in hits and walks, 1491 and 616 respectively. Those numbers seem even more impressive when you take into account that they have the fewest strikeouts in the league with 1119.
All of those above stats show that the Astros have one of the most potent offenses in the MLB this season. But how does this year’s team compare to Houston’s teams of the past? Well, looking at the statistics of the teams dating back to 1962, they’re right up there at the top.
For starters, from that slash line mentioned above, the SLG% and OPS are the best the Astros have posted in their 58 years of existence. They have 277 home runs so far this season, which is already 28 homers more than their record-high 249 hit back in 2000. They are currently on track to score the second-most runs in a season and possibly record the most RBIs.
Looking at the newer sabermetrics, the 2019 offense is well above any of the past teams when comparing the weighted runs categories. They currently have a wRC+ of 126, edging out the 2017 Astros, and also beat out all previous offenses with a 965 wRC and a 188.4 wRAA. Their WAR stands at 39.4, also an all-time high.
This 2019 version of the Astros offense is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with, giving opposing pitchers trouble all season. Imagine what these numbers could possibly look like if key players like George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa didn’t miss nearly 140 accumulative games due to injuries and if Yordan Alvarez had been with the team all year.
This team is just flat-out dangerous up and down the lineup and I’d hate to be the pitcher up against them. It’s obvious, by possessing the leagues lowest 17 intentional walks, that there are not many opportunities for pitchers to simply pitch around a hitter to get to an easier out. It’s been an exciting team to watch, and I look forward to the postseason and a chance to “Take It Back”.