A continuation of the series of retrospectives looking back at the regular season and how teams fared. They will be presented, from first to last, in order of their run differential as given by the BaseRuns formula and adjusted for strength of schedule, which I feel is the best measurement of a team’s actual talent level.
Number Twenty two: Houston Astros
Ignore that 86-75 record. The Astros were nowhere near that good of a team this year. Their pythagorean record was just 77-84 and BaseRuns agrees with the long dead Greek philosopher, crediting the Astros with 699 runs scored (23rd in the league) and 754 runs allowed (20th in the league). That’s good for a 75-86 mark, inverse of their actual record.
The 2008 Astros remade 3/5ths of their infield replacing Craig Biggio, Morgan Ensberg and Adam Everett with Kazuo Matsui, Ty Wiggington and Miguel Tejada. Those were three pretty good candidates for replacement as they all had bad years at the plate last season. The new trio were better, but collectively only a few runs above average thanks to Miguel Tejada’s post-April collapse.
Lance Berkman certainly exploded in 2008, but Hunter Pence regressed and Luke Scott was dealt away in the Tejada deal and overall the Astros offense remained pretty static compared to last year. That wasn’t a level they should be proud to stay at either.
The bullpen certainly could have used the revitalized Brad Lidge this year, but actually did quite fine on their own thanks to Chris Sampson, Jose Valverde and the newly re-signed LaTroy Hawkins. In the rotation, Randy Wolf was a decent enough idea, but really it was more important to do whatever it took to get Brandon Backe out of there. Oswalt clearly had a down season, but Wandy Rodriguez added another data point to the trend that he’s capable of being an above average starter in the NL.
Besides needing to make decisions on the rotation for 2009, the Astros should also really look into trying to upgrade their defense up the middle which spent another year being a liability and with Tejada at shortstop needs all the help it can get from other positions. Though if that means more playing time for Michael Bourn maybe it’s best they just forget it.
Print This Post