Astros History

Astros: Best individual seasons in club history – rotation

ST. LOUIS, MO - CIRCA 1987: Mike Scott #33 of the Houston Astros pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during an Major League Baseball game circa 1987 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. Scott played for the Astros from 1983-91. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - CIRCA 1987: Mike Scott #33 of the Houston Astros pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during an Major League Baseball game circa 1987 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. Scott played for the Astros from 1983-91. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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We continue with our series ranking the best individual seasons in Houston Astros history.

We’ve got a long list of seasons here, much like our list of the Houston Astros‘ best outfield seasons. There were plenty of great starting pitchers to sift through and plenty of impressive seasons to find and rank.

Again, each player can only appear on the list once. The rankings are by Baseball-Reference’s WAR total, and hint hint, there could be a surprise at the end of these rankings. Don’t blame me, blame the stats.

15. Darryl Kile – 1997

Kile’s final season with the Astros was undoubtedly his best. He went 19-7 with a 2.57 ERA in 34 starts, tossing 255.2 innings and striking out 205 batters. He made the All-Star team and finished fifth in the Cy Young voting, compiling 5.4 WAR.

14. Nolan Ryan – 1987

Ryan actually led the majors in ERA in 1981 at 1.69, but made only 21 starts which hampered his WAR total. His best was when he posted a league-best 2.76 ERA in 1987, totaling 5.4 WAR while leading the majors in strikeouts, FIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio. He only finished fifth in the Cy Young voting, however, thanks to a surprising 8-16 record.

13. J.R. Richard – 1979

Richard’s last full season saw him lead the majors in ERA (2.71), strikeouts (313), FIP, hits per nine  and strikeouts per nine. He went 18-13 in 38 starts, throwing 292.1 innings, and finished third in the Cy Young voting. Richard totaled 5.6 WAR and was on pace to surpass that in 1980 before a stroke ended his season and career.

12. Mike Cuellar – 1966

Cuellar would win a Cy Young in Baltimore, but this was his best season from a WAR standpoint (5.7) thanks to a 2.22 ERA over 227.1 innings. He made 28 starts and 10 relief appearances and only totaled a pedestrian 12-10 record, which is what probably kept him from getting any Cy Young consideration.

11. Don Wilson – 1971

This is when Wilson made his only All-Star team, pitching to a 16-10 record and 2.45 ERA in 34 starts spanning 268 innings. He led the league in hits per nine and had a meager 1.022 WHIP. The Astros retired his number following his untimely death in 1975 at age 29.

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