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Franchise Greats | Houston Astros

Houston Astros all-time greats 26 Man Roster is the second entry in the Franchise Greats series. Like most of the teams in baseball, they’ve rebranded. They came into existence in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45s. Three years later they decided on a more cosmological identity and became the Astros. They are also the most recent team to change leagues. They started in the NL West, then moved to the Central after the reorganization of ’94. Then in 2013, they moved to the AL West as a delayed balance to the Brewers’ move in the opposite direction back in 1988.

They have made the playoffs seven times in their 58-year existence, first in 1997 and most recently last year, in 2019. They hang three pennants at Minute Maid Park: the ’05 team was swept in the World Series by the Chicago White Sox, last year, 2019, they lost to the Washington Nationals in seven games, but in 2017 they made good, besting the Los Angeles Dodgers in another seven-game series for the Franchise’s only title.

While experiencing an unprecedented rise the past few seasons, they haven’t been without their detractors. First, they were the first team to adopt the infamous AstroTurf. Second, in many ways, they pioneered an extreme form of “tanking” or fielding an intentionally bad team to increase draft pick value and competitive balance considerations. Most recently, they’ve been mired in the “trash can” sign-stealing scandal. As this series is endeavoring to be “era-agnostic” these won’t impact a player’s chance at the All-Astros squad, and you’ll just have to be ok with that.

Houston Astros all-time greats 26 Man Roster

Catcher

Before we look at the contenders, one particular name will be left to another position. He came up as a Catcher, but his primary impact was elsewhere so that’s where he’ll be discussed.

The contenders to make the squad are Alan Ashby, Brad Ausmus, Jason Castro, Tony Eusebio, and Cliff Johnson. Strictly offensively, it’s no contest. Cliff Johnson leads all Astro Catchers with at least 500 ABs in SLG (.471), wOBA (.380), ISO (.216), and wRC+ (141). However, he was only an Astro for the first 5+ years of his 14-year career and only the full-time guy for ’75 and ’76. After being traded to the Yankees in ’77, he played for five teams in four years providing solid offensive production in the offensively saturated positions of 1B, DH, and LF, while occasionally still Catching.

Tony Eusebio was a long-term backstop with a solid career, particularly defensively, but does not threaten the All-Astros squad.

Brad Ausmus was traded from the Padres to the Tigers in ’96 and then to the Astros after the season. Two years later, in ’99, he was traded back to Detroit who proceeded to trade him back to Houston another two years later in ’01. Despite seemingly being tossed around, he appeared in 125+ games from ’96 to ’06, trailing only Jason Kendall in total games played. He was never very valuable with the bat, demonstrated by his lackluster .240/.312/.319 slash. He slightly elevated his game in the playoffs and was a proficient defensive backstop, worth 102.8 Def, 4th best among Catchers from ’97-’08 (minus his Tiger years). However, since he was only worth a grand total of 5.3 fWAR as an Astro, his ubiquitous presence doesn’t manage to offset his lack of offensive value.

From ’79 to ’89, Alan Ashby split time with a number of other Catchers who didn’t make the list, Mark Bailey, Alex Trevino, Luis Pujols, and several others. He leads all Astro Catchers with at least 1000 PAs in HRs (69) and RBIs (388), and is top-5 in PAs (3318), wOBA (.310), wRC+ (97), and Off (-10.8). His most valuable year as a starter was in ’87 when he slashed .288/.367/.438, had a 119 wRC+, and earned 9.8 Off. His 9.7 fWAR is 2nd among Astro Catchers trailing the last name on our list.

With 10.8 fWAR, Jason Castro is the franchise leader. Castro debuted in 2010 and took over starting duties in ’13. He left as a free agent after the ’16 season, missing a World Series Ring by one season. His one above-average season offensively is 2013, when he slashed .276/.350/.485 with a wRC+ of 129. Most of his value has been defensive. In his five years as a starter, he was worth 55.8 Def and has been known as a top-shelf pitch framer. In 2016, Baseball Prospectus rated him 3rd in FRAA (Framing Runs Above Average) behind only Buster Posey and Yasmani Grandal.

This is a pretty difficult choice. On the one hand, Johnson and Ashby provided the most offensive value while on the other hand, Castro and Ausmus the most defensive. In the end, getting the more productive of each pairing seemed the most sensible.

C – Jason Castro and Cliff Johnson

First Base

The first two infield positions are pretty easy choices.

The five contenders for 1st are Glenn Davis, Bob Watson, Danny Walling, Yuli Gurriel, and HOFer Jeff Bagwell.

The combined fWAR of the non-Bagwell players on the list is 62.6 while Bags accumulated an impressive 80.2.

Bob Watson (25.4 fWAR) has a shot at the bench at least, and here’s his case. A .297/.364/.444 slash and wRC+ of 129 as an Astro looks even better when his first 5 part-time seasons are left off. As a starter, Watson slashed .303/.372/.454 with a potent wOBA of .369 and 108.8 Off. During this 8-year stretch (’71-’78) he was 3rd among 1B in Off behind Willie Stargell and Rod Carew. A solid resume indeed but it barely holds a candle to Bagwell.

Playing his entire 15-year career in Houston, from ’91 to ’05, Bagwell absolutely mashed. Six seasons of 39+ HRs, three with 130+ RBIs, a career wOBA of .405, and a staggering 594.6 Off add up to a HOF resume. In a career spanning an era of huge offensive numbers, Bagwell’s 149 wRC+ is tied for 4th among 1B, and his 449 HRs trails only Rafael Palmeiro. In addition to his prowess with the bat, Bagwell was a surprisingly effective baserunner, leading all 1B with 202 SBs and rating 6.5 BsR, good enough for 5th among 1B.

1B – Jeff Bagwell

Second Base

Houston Astros all-time greats 26 Man Roster

At 2nd there is also a clear choice even though the five options present a more compelling case to be considered. The five are Jose Altuve, Craig Biggio, Bill Doran, Art Howe, and Joe Morgan.

Howe played all around the diamond for Houston from ’76-82 and even managed some MVP votes near the end of his tenure. However, in this list, his 13.4 fWAR is a distant 5th.

Bill Doran was a significant player in Astros history. Debuting in ’82, he provided above-average offense and defense until he was traded to the Championship-bound Reds. A back injury stole his chance at a ring in ’90 and three years later he hung it up. His 112 wRC+ as an Astro was 12th among 2B during that span while his 37.2 Def was 13th. He made a significant impact on the franchise but was outshone by other names on the list.

HOFer Joe Morgan made a few appearances as a Colt .45 in ’63 and ’64 but his career really began in ’65 as the starting 2B for the newly christened Astros. He held down the keystone and made a couple All-Star games before being traded to Cincinnati in ’71 and starting a historic run, which will get a full treatment in the Reds’ entry for this series. In ’80, he returned to Houston for one year before moving on to several other teams during his late-career decline. From ’65-71 he slashed .264/.376/.399 for a wRC+ of 123, was worth 121.5 Off, and added 194 SBs and 18.7 BsR. His .353 wOBA trailed only Pete Rose among 2B over that stretch.

The heart-and-soul of the most recent Astros’ run is Jose Altuve. Beginning his career in 2011, Altuve quickly became the Astros’ most consistent hitter. So far, he holds a .315/.364/.463 slash and has generated 182.1 Off; both metrics slightly better than Morgan’s. In 2017, he had one of the most productive seasons of any Astro with a wOBA of .405 and 7.6 fWAR. His productivity earned him his 4th consecutive (of six total) All-Star selection and the 2017 AL MVP award. He was also named the 2019 MVP in their ALCS win over the Yankees with a series OPS of 1.097. He has exceeded 200 hits four years in a row, leading the AL each time and has 3 batting titles. His career wRC+ of 127 is 3rd among 2B during his career behind Max Muncy and Robinson Cano.

The fWAR leader among this stellar group, with 65.8, is Craig Biggio. Altuve and Morgan combined fall just short of Biggio’s total value. In a franchise leading 12000+ PAs, Biggio slashed .281/.363/.433, jacked 291 HRs, and swiped 414 bases. He entered the league as a Catcher but was quickly transitioned to 2nd where he held his own, never wowing with the glove except perhaps in one outlier season, his best all-around – 1997 – when he was worth 20.8 Def and 50.3 Off for a potent 9.3 fWAR. He finished 4th that season in the MVP voting despite leading all position players in fWAR. During his peak, from ’91-99, he made seven All-Star games, got four Gold Gloves, and four Silver Sluggers. In that nine-year run, his position-leading wRC+ (134), Off (260.0), and fWAR (44.7) validate the claim he was the best 2B in baseball.

These players each achieved degrees of excellence and they certainly factor into the final composition of the All-Astros, but Biggio’s the starter.

2B – Craig Biggio

Shortstop

No shortstops in Astros history have reached near the heights of the second baseman, but one, in particular, has a decent claim on the starting spot. The 5 subjects are Carlos Correa, Adam Everett, Marwin Gonzalez, Craig Reynolds, and Dickie Thon.

Craig Reynolds was an All-Star his first year in Houston, 1979, and played the remaining 11 years of his career with the Astros. He compiled 10.4 fWAR over that time, meaning he was a fairly replacement-level pro.

Marwin was the modern Astros’ swiss-army knife. He has 200+ starts at three different positions and 100+ at three more. Gonzalez broke in as a shortstop and still has a slight edge there over the rest of the diamond. He had one stellar season which coincided with the Astros’ run to the ’17 World Series, during which he slashed .303/.377/.530 worth 144 wRC+. Neither of these two makes the All-Astros.

The shortstop for the ’05 World Series team was Adam Everett. Like Marwin, his best season lined up with the best team’s performance of his era as well. However, it’s value was not with the bat. He slashed an anemic .248/.290/.364 but was worth 20.3 Def and 4.9 BsR and popped an unlikely career-high 11 HRs. He had a strong NCLS in ’05 before completely vanishing (1 for 15) in the World Series loss to the Sox.

Sharing time with Reynolds, was Dickie Thon. Also a one-time All-Star (’83), Thon had two strong seasons and seemed headed for greatness. In a fateful moment, a wayward pitch from Mike Torrez hit him in the face shattering his orbital bone. He amazingly recovered and played for ten more seasons, three with the Astros, but his eyesight never recovered enough for him to return to his offensive peak. In ’83, he registered a 20/30 season, slashed .286/.341/.457, and earned 19.6 Off. All told, his 7.2 fWAR that season trailed only HOFer Cal Ripken Jr.

The reason Marwin got shifted around the diamond was the meteoric rise of Carlos Correa. Despite having only logged 100 games three of his five seasons, Correa leads all Astros SS with 18.5 fWAR, 102 HRs, and a 129 wRC+. The 2015 Rookie of the Year was an All-Star in ’17 when he slashed .315/.391/.550 for an OPS+ of 155. Injuries cut down his 2019 season, but Correa has already made a significant mark on Astros’ history.

SS – Carlos Correa

Third Base

Three of the five 3B have almost identical fWAR, so this is the toughest call of the franchise. Alex Bregman, Ken Caminiti, Morgan Ensberg, Phil Garner, and Doug Rader are the contenders for the All-Astros hot corner.

Garner was nearly exactly a replacement-level hitter for his career (wRC+ 99) but elevated that slightly during his 6+ years as an Astro. With as average a resume as can be, Garner did swipe 66 bases, the 3rd most among 3B during while an Astro.

Ensberg held down the left side of the infield with Adam Everett during the aught-year surge in Houston. Also like Everett, his career-best season came during the World Series run of ’05. He slashed .283/.388/.557 worth a career-best 144 wRC+ and 31.6 Off. The 36 HR 101 RBI season is a bright flash in a short career.

Ken Caminiti debuted with the Astros in 1987 and improved every season until he left in Free Agency after the ’94 season. His best seasons came after his time in Houston but he showed flashes of the power he’d display later on. In ’92, he slashed .294/.350/.441 a 125 wRC+. Two seasons later, during the strike-shortened ’94 he was an All-Star and slashed .283/.352/.495 a 119 wRC+. His 19.2 fWAR as an Astro is 3rd by an extremely thin margin behind the last two names on the list.

The Houston hot corner throughout the 70s belonged to Doug Rader. After debuting in ’67 he played all but two of his 11 seasons in Houston. An above-average defensive performer, Rader never logged a negative season in terms of fWAR, seemingly balancing out his worse offensive seasons with good defensive ones and vice versa. His best offensive season was a pedestrian .257/.334/.415 which only marginally improved on his career average. Until very recently, that steady production was good enough for the Astros’ franchise leading 3B fWAR of 20.3.

In only four seasons, Alex Bregman has shot to the top of the franchise’s 3B ranks. His 20.5 fWAR may only slightly edge Rader, but his fWAR/season destroys him. His past two seasons, in particular, have been otherworldly. In ’18, he hit 31 HRs with 103 RBIs, slashed .286/.394/.532 worth 50.8 Off and a 156 wRC+. He was an All-Star and came in 5th in the MVP voting. In the three-game sweep of Cleveland in the 2018 ALDS, Bregman had a 2.048 OPS. Then he came out in 2019 and improved in nearly every category. His 8.5 fWAR was second only to Mike Trout as was his 174 wRC+ and 65.2 Off. He slashed .296/.423/.592 and blasted 41 HRs and 112 RBIs. The future is bright for the 26-year old who is already one of the greatest players of his generation.

3B – Alex Bregman

Outfield

The Outfielders in contention for the All-Astros are Kevin Bass, Lance Berkman, Cesar Cedeno, Jose Cruz, Richard Hidalgo, Hunter Pence, Terry Puhl, George Springer, and Jimmy Wynn.

Kevin Bass had a solid career that peaked in ’86 when he slashed .311/.357/.486 worth 24.7 Off. A top-10 Astros OFer but not an All-Astro. Terry Puhl played 13 of his 14 seasons in Houston but none of them reached the level of Bass’ best and many of them were part-time.

Hunter Pence also has been above-average for 13 years. Starting in ’07, Houston was his first home, where he began his 7-year 20+ HR streak. Mid-2011 he was traded to Philadelphia while having his best year offensively; combined he slashed .314/.370/.502 for an OPS+ of 139. While he’s piled up some impressive numbers due to his longevity, his time in Houston was too short to get on the team.

Another OFer whose place among franchise leaders is dependent primarily on one big season is Richard Hidalgo. A career wOBA of .357 and wRC+ of 111 are both slightly above average but in 2000 he put in a beast of a season. His .636 SLG was 5th in the league behind Gary Sheffield, Vladimir Guerrero, Barry Bonds, and Manny Ramirez. He had 44 HRs, 122 RBIs, and a wRC+ of 149.

One of the key pieces on the most recent team is their CF/RF and leadoff hitter George Springer. In 2019, his wOBA of .400 was 5th in the league and his career-high. His career slash of .270/.361/.488 is a wRC+ of 133, good enough for 2nd best among Astro OFers. However, with only six years of productivity his fWAR of 24.6 is only 6th in franchise history. If he continues to improve, he’ll likely demand a spot on the All-Astros on lists made in a few years.

Making his debut as a Colt .45 in 1963, Jimmy Wynn had some very potent years with a couple reduced seasons due to injuries and off-field drama mixed in. From ’65-’72 he was a premier performer racking up 35.8 fWAR, going to the All-Star game in ’67, and leading the league in walks in ’69. The “Toy Cannon” as he was dubbed for his compact size, was top-10 in ISO (8th .200), HRs (8th 194), RBIs (10th 619), and Off (9th 215.2). His best season was ’69 when he had 33 HRs, a wOBA of .421, and was worth 6.7 fWAR. His 167 wRC+ that season was 4th among OFers trailing only Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron, and Frank Howard.

Replacing Wynn in CF for Houston in the 70s was our next subject, Cesar Cedeno. While Cesar didn’t bring nearly as much power to the plate as Jimmy, his overall value and longevity gave him a slight edge. His peak stretched from ’72-80 during which he slashed .293/.362/.467, worth 135 wRC+. Only Reggie Jackson had more fWAR among OFers in that span. Cedeno added a positive offensive contribution and was a stellar baserunner. During that run, he stole 438 bases (2 more than Lou Brock) worth an OF-leading 39.1 BsR. The 4x All-Star also won 5-straight Gold Gloves. That combo of speed, defense, and on-base skills earns Cesar the starting nod in CF for the All-Astros.

Wynn was the guy for Houston in the 60s, Cedeno the 70s, and Jose Cruz was the top Astros OFer for the 80s. Purchased from the Cardinals in ’74, Cruz played 13 seasons in Houston before wrapping up his career with a shortened season in New York. From ’76-84 he slashed .299/.365/.436 and the last two seasons his productivity jumped. Never a prolific HR-hitter, his back-to-back seasons with an OBA north of .380 translated to 142 and 140 wRC+ respectively. In 1980, he finished 3rd in the NL MVP race behind Mike Schmidt and Gary Carter. Cruz and Cedeno were teammates in the late 70s and will also line up next to each other on the All-Astros squad.

Starting in ’99, Biggio and Bagwell were joined by the best hitting OFer in Astro history, Lance Berkman, and they formed the “killer B’s.” Berkman’s .299/.412/.555 slash from ’99-’09 was worth 373.6 Off, the 4th highest total among OFers, behind Bobby Abreu, Manny Ramirez, and Barry Bonds. He had six straight seasons with an OBA over .400 and his career-high of .450 came in ’06 when he also slugged .621 and had 45 HRs and 136 RBIs. Berkman went to 5 All-Star games with Houston and had 5 top-10 MVP finishes. He finished three seasons with an OPS over 1.000 and averaged .959 as an Astro, better than HOFer and teammate Jeff Bagwell. Because of his lack of defensive value, he’s a natural choice for DH, but because of the way the bench played out, he’ll get the start in LF.

RF – Jose Cruz
CF – Cesar Cedeno
LF – Lance Berkman

Designated Hitter

The Astros have only had the DH for 7 seasons so the options here won’t make the team. Evan Gattis, Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Beltran, Chris Carter, and Carlos Pena have been the most productive, but Gattis’ “position-leading” fWAR is just 4.6.

So, the choice comes down to Jimmy Wynn, Jose Altuve, Bob Watson, Joe Morgan, and Richard Hidalgo. While Wynn and Watson provided solid power, Altuve brings a much more well-rounded offensive game.

DH – Jose Altuve

The Bench

The remaining three spots were filled based on the roles a normal team would need.

Bench – Joe Morgan, Jimmy Wynn, George Springer

27th man would be Bob Watson.

Starting Pitching

Ten starting pitchers were chosen and of them, five will be the standard 5-man rotation for the All-Astros. The ten are Larry Dierker, Dallas Keuchel, Joe Niekro, Roy Oswalt, Wandy Peralta, Shane Reynolds, JR Richard, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, and Don Wilson.

Joe Niekro and his knuckleball won 135 games but only accrued 20.2 fWAR coming in 8th on the list due to weaker peripherals. Wandy Peralta (80-83 4.00 ERA) and Dallas Keuchel (76-61 3.61 ERA) had respectable careers but their numbers don’t hold up against the others. The remaining pitchers all have 26+ fWAR, 1500+ IP, and 100+ Wins.

If you read the All-Angel article, their ace Nolan Ryan got fair treatment. The “Ryan Express” also made an extended stop in Houston and was equally as dominant. He signed as a Free Agent in ’80 and left the way he came after the ’88 season. In between, he simply dominated. He K’d 200+ 5x, led the league in ERA 2x, Ks 2x, somehow only made 2 All-Star games, and had an embarrassingly low 3 top-10 CY finishes. In ’87, Ryan led the league with a 2.76 ERA, 270 Ks, and an 11.5 K/9 at the age of 40. Amazingly, ’87 was his only Astros year without a complete game, and over his time in Houston, he finished 38 of them. He also had one of his seven no-hitters for the Astros in ’81. Ryan is not, however, the best pitcher, in terms of fWAR or many other metrics in Astros history.

The fWAR (46) and Win (140) leader for the franchise is Roy Oswalt. In four of his first six seasons, Oswalt had 6+ fWAR, 32+ starts, and 14+ wins. His ERA- of 76 is significantly better than any Astros starter with more than 1000 IP. He wasn’t a strikeout artist, but his 7.39 K/9 is respectable, while his 1.20 WHIP is second among Astros starters.

Oswalt led all pitchers in wins from ’01-09, his full seasons with Houston. He also pitched in one of the strangest no-hitters in baseball history, being the starter but only throwing the 1st inning. After leaving with an injury in the second inning, Peter Munro, Kirk Saarloos, and three other relievers with a shot at the All-Astros bullpen finished off the game. Oswalt never had much luck with awards. However, he had 5 top-5 CY finishes and was the runner-up in the ’01 Rookie of the Year race. Ryan and Oswalt are the 1a-1b Aces for the All-Astros.

The most talented arm in Astros history, and one of the great what-ifs in all of baseball, is JR Richard. After four seasons of limited work, Richard threw 200+ innings for the next five years. In ’80 his career was cut short by a stroke. The only pitcher with more strikeouts during those years was Ryan, and Richard had more wins (96 to 87), a better ERA (3.01 to 3.34), and allowed fewer HRs (67 to 75). He was an All-Star in ’80 and was likely on his way to a third consecutive season with 300+ K’s. His 313 K’s in ’79 was the franchise record up until this past season. Despite the tragically shortened nature of his career, Richard is still third in fWAR among Astros starters and is on the All-Astros squad.

The first Ace in Astros history was Larry Dierker. In the span of his career, from ’64-76, he led all Astros pitchers in wins (136) and he’s still the franchise leader in starts (317), and IP (2267.1). While an average starter for most of his career (3.28 ERA, 5.83 K/9) he had one awesome season. In 1969, he went 20-13 with a 2.33 ERA, 232 Ks, 20 complete games, 4 shutouts, and a 1.02 WHIP, worth 7.3 fWAR. In his last year with the team, he tossed a no-hitter, the 5th in team history. He has a strong claim on one of the last two spots, but there are other contenders.

Shane Reynolds was the Astros opening day starter five straight seasons in the 90s. He tossed 200+ innings 3x and in ’98 set career highs in wins (19) and Ks (209). He led the league in starts in ’98-99 and is one of eight Astros pitchers with 100 wins. His ERA- of 95 and WHIP of 1.29 are top-15 in franchise history.

The only other 60s Astros starter to win 100 games was Don Wilson. A steady workhorse, Wilson averaged just under 30 games and 195 IP a season for his career. He rarely pitched any better or worse than his career averages of 3.15 ERA and 6.6 K/9. Nonetheless he could be unhittable on any given day. So much so, he tossed a pair of no-hitters, one in ’67 and the second in ’69. The second was particularly special because it was a Major League first, as it concluded consecutive games between two teams featuring no-hitters, Jim Maloney threw a no-hitter against the Astros the day before.

The Astros acquired Mike Scott in ’83 and he went on to win the 4th most games in franchise history (109). He was one of the toughest starters in the game from ’85-89. He went 86-49 with a 2.93 ERA racking up 21.8 fWAR. His best season, ’86, He set career highs in IP (275.1), Ks (306) for a K/9 of just over 10.00, ERA (2.22), shutouts (5), WHIP (.923) and fWAR (8.6). He won the NL CY and in the playoffs was even more dominant.

Scott received the 1986 NLCS MVP despite Houston losing the series to the Mets. He had two starts, went the full 9 in both, and only allowed one run with 19 Ks. He added a 20-win season in ’89, his 3rd All-Star game, and was the runner up in the CY race to Mark Davis. His career WHIP of 1.14 leads all Astros pitchers with 1500 or more innings.

Oswalt, Ryan, and Richard are locks. Two of Dierker, Wilson, Reynolds, or Scott wrap up the staff. Scott’s ’86 season was possibly the greatest single season by an Astros starter, so he’s in. Dierker edges out the other two with his advantage in fWAR and wins.

Rotation: Roy Oswalt, Nolan Ryan, JR Richard, Mike Scott, Lance Dierker

Bullpen

Reminder from the earlier articles this list is as much about what a player contributed to the franchise as it is about being the best so only pitchers used primarily as relievers will be considered for the ‘pen.

10 relievers will compete for 8 spots – but this will be a much more brief analysis, mainly because the average RPs IP for a franchise is between 200-250, so there’s less to analyze. For the Astros, the 10 considered were Larry Andersen, Chris Devenski, Octavio Dotel, Ken Forsch, Ken Giles, Will Harris, Brad Lidge, Joe Sambito, Dave Smith, and Billy Wagner.

One of the greatest left-handed relievers of all-time is also the best relief pitcher in Astros’ franchise history. Billy Wagner was worth 13.4 fWAR over his nine years with the ‘Stros. Five of his last six years with the team he saved 30+ games, including his career-high of 44 in ’03. Other than his one-game cup of coffee in ’95 and injury-shortened ’00 seasons, he registered an oppressive 10.5+ K/9 every season including three straight with 14+. His 12.38 K/9 from ’95-03 trailed only Eric Gagne in all of baseball. He was a 3x All-Star in Houston and in ’99 finished 4th in the CY voting. That season he saved 39 games with 124 K’s in just 74.2 IP with an ERA of 1.57 and WHIP of 0.77. The All-Astros 9th would be in his sure hands if utilized traditionally.

Along with Wagner’s dominance, two other closers from ‘Stros history will have spots in the All-Astros pen. Dave Smith and Brad Lidge. Smith piled up 199 saves over 11 seasons, topping out at 33 in ’86. Lidge pitched on the ’05 World Series team and saved 42 games that season with 13.12 K/9 and a 2.29 ERA. The year before, his K/9 was ever higher at 14.93 despite throwing 94.2 IP to ’05’s 70.2. However, in the ’05 NLCS, Albert Pujols sent this pitch into orbit and he stumbled for his last two Astros seasons.

The rest of the All-Astros bullpen is comprised of Octavio Dotel (fWAR 8.6 ERA 2.40 K/9 11.80), Larry Andersen (fWAR 7.1 ERA 2.57), Joe Sambito (fWAR 6.8, ERA 2.34), Will Harris (5.2 fWAR, ERA 2.36), and Chris Devenski (K/9 9.89 WHIP 1.02).

Bullpen – Billy Wagner, Brad Lidge, Dave Smith, Octavio Dotel, Larry Andersen, Joe Sambito, Will Harris, Chris Devenski

Results and Lineup

Presenting the All-Astros:

Catcher- Jason Castro, Cliff Johnson
Infield- Jose Altuve, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Joe Morgan
Outfield- Lance Berkman, Cesar Cedeno, Jose Cruz, George Springer, Jimmy Wynn
Starting Pitchers- Larry Dierker, Roy Oswalt, JR Richard, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott
Relief Pitchers- Larry Andersen, Chris Devenski, Octavio Dotel, Will Harris, Brad Lidge, Joe Sambito, Dave Smith, Billy Wagner

  1. Craig Biggio 4
  2. Alex Bregman 5
  3. Jeff Bagwell 3
  4. Lance Berkman 7
  5. Carlos Correa 6
  6. Jose Altuve DH
  7. Jose Cruz 9
  8. Cesar Cedeno 8
  9. Jason Castro 2

Killer B’s, Killer C’s, and an A.

Let me know in the comments where I went wrong and look out for the other entries in the series coming out soon.

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