Astros: Three single season records unlikely to be broken

MIAMI - AUGUST 20: Hitting coach Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros during batting practice before a MLB game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on August 20, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)
MIAMI - AUGUST 20: Hitting coach Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros during batting practice before a MLB game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on August 20, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /
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There are three Houston Astros single-season records that are unlikely to be broken.

We recently looked at three Houston Astros franchise records that aren’t likely to fall, so now we shift our focus to the single-season marks. There are several impressive numbers to comb through when you examine the best seasons in club history, but a few stand out.

Some of the most impressive numbers could still fall with the right player in the right situation. But these three aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Jeff Bagwell: .750 slugging percentage in 1994

Bagwell’s MVP campaign was simply otherworldly. In just 110 games, he hit .368/.451/.750 with 32 doubles, 39 homers, 116 RBIs, 15 stolen bases and an equal number of walks and strikeouts. His average and OPS are also club records, while his on-base percentage was only topped by his own 1999 season when he drew 149 walks.

But that slugging percentage was by far the highest in club history, with Richard Hidalgo‘s 2000 mark of .636 the next-best. Even Alex Bregman, as good as he was in 2019, didn’t come remotely close, slugging .592 in his best season yet. Mike Trout‘s career-high in slugging is still more than 100 points behind Bagwell’s mark.

In fact, Baggy’s .750 slugging is the 11th-best single season mark in baseball history. Of the 10 higher marks, seven belong to Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds. The other three are owned by Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby and Mark McGwire. That’s impressive company, and no Astros player is going to touch that mark anytime soon.

Larry Dierker: 305.1 innings pitched in 1969

Dierker also made our career list with his 106 complete games, and this single-season mark is unlikely to fall for much the same reason. He tossed 20 complete games in 37 starts in 1969 and also made a couple of relief appearances to boot.

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These days, a pitcher even getting to 200 innings in a season is becoming a rare feat. It’s hard enough to make a full slate of starts anyway, but consider this. A pitcher making 34 starts would have to average around 8.98 innings per start to get to Dierker’s mark. Justin Verlander made 34 starts in each of the past two years, which is about the maximum a player can get to these days.

So for a modern pitcher to reach this mark, he’d have to make a full slate of 34 starts and throw a complete game every time. That’s simply not going to happen in this day and age, no matter how good or how durable a pitcher may be. Dierker’s mark is safe.

J.R. Richard: 151 walks in 1976

This isn’t a record anyone necessarily wants to reach, but it’s a record nonetheless. Part of the reason why Richard was able to walk that many batters is he threw 291 innings and started 39 games. It’s still a rather high walk rate, but the team could tolerate it because he was tough to hit and pitched to a 2.75 ERA that year in spite of all the free passes.

No one besides Richard has come close to that mark, as he also owns the next two highest walk totals in team history. An Astros pitcher has walked 100 batters 11 times, but all of those instances came in 1983 or earlier, with one exception — Mike Hampton‘s 1999 season.

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For a pitcher to walk 151 batters in today’s game, his walk rate would have to be astronomically high (no pun intended). Any pitcher who walks batters at that rate isn’t going to be around long enough to reach Richard’s mark, so it’s not going anywhere.

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