Astros History

Astros: Best individual seasons in club history – third base

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros throws out Anthony Rendon (not pictured) of the Washington Nationals during the first inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros throws out Anthony Rendon (not pictured) of the Washington Nationals during the first inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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We continue with our series looking at the best individual seasons in Houston Astros history by position.

It’s a golden age for the Houston Astros at the third base position. Their current starter, Alex Bregman, is already the best in club history at the hot corner. If he remains with the club, which it appears he will for the next several years at least, he could be one of the best in club history at any position.

Prior to Bregman’s ascension into a star, the club had a bunch of solid seasons at the position but had difficulty finding a long-term star there. The players who came before Bregman either never reached that status or couldn’t maintain it for any length of time. But there was plenty of talent.

Remember, each player is only allowed to be on the list once. Otherwise Bregman would occupy the top two spots just by himself.

5. Art Howe – 1981

Howe, who would go on to manage the Astros from 1989-1993, played all over the infield in his seven seasons as a Houston player. But his 1981 season was spent almost exclusively at third, and it was his best. He hit .296/.365/.404 with 22 doubles, three homers and 36 RBIs, garnering some MVP consideration and totaling 3.5 WAR.

4. Doug Rader – 1970

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The power-hitting, slick-fielding Rader won five straight Gold Gloves, and this season was the first of those. He also set his career high in homers and had one of his best RBI seasons. He finished with a .252/.322/.436 line with 25 doubles, 25 homers and 87 RBIs, totaling 3.6 WAR.

3. Ken Caminiti – 1989

It’s interesting that this is the season for Caminiti, because he had better offensive campaigns with the Astros. But he played excellent defense this year, according to Baseball-Reference, which is what helped him get to 4.9 WAR. He hit just .255/.316/.379 with 10 homers and 72 RBIs at the plate, but he was a vacuum at third base. For more on Caminiti, check out our review of the trade that sent him to San Diego.

2. Morgan Ensberg – 2005

The Astros lost Jeff Kent and Carlos Beltran from the previous year’s team, and Jeff Bagwell went down early in the year for surgery. So Ensberg stepped up in a big way, morphing into the cleanup hitter and providing lineup protection for Lance Berkman. He hit .283/.388/.557 with 30 doubles, 36 homers and 101 RBIs, making the All-Star team, winning a Silver Slugger, finishing fourth in the MVP voting and playing plus defense, compiling 6.3 WAR. Too bad he couldn’t maintain that level of production.

1. Alex Bregman – 2019

Bregman established himself as a legitimate star last season, putting the team on his back at times as other key players suffered injuries. He led the majors with 119 walks and hit .296/.423/.592 with 37 doubles, 41 homers and 112 RBIs, finishing second to Mike Trout in the MVP voting. His offensive prowess and plus defense combined to total 9.1 WAR.

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