#4 Defensive Regression
The Astros have been one of the best defensive teams in baseball during their Golden Era. Since 2018, they’ve finished fourth or better every year in Defensive Runs Saved.
Last year they finished fourth in the MLB with 67 DRS. Kyle Tucker and Jeremy Peña both took home Gold Gloves. It felt like any ball put in play became an out.
2023 hasn’t been nearly as kind. Tucker and Peña alone have combined for 28 fewer DRS. Houston is 18th in the MLB this year with 2 DRS as a team.
Yes, a full 65 less runs saved. They’ve allowed 65 unearned runs this year, one of the highest marks in the game. Martín Maldonado can’t keep the baseball in front of him (a league-worst 12 passed balls) and Houston has struggled to make the most routine of plays.
With a young rotation already struggling to limit the damage, they didn’t have room to inflict further harm on themselves. Their defense has done just that.