The Pyramid Rating System’s All-Time Houston Astros

Lance Berkman was one of the best position players in Astros history. (via Brian McElhinny)

Paul Moehringer’s Pyramid Rating System & All-Time Teams

Aug. 27, 2015: The Pyramid Rating System: JAWS on a Career Scale

March 15, 2016: The Pyramid Rating System: The Results

Aug. 12, 2016: All-Time League and Baltimore Orioles

Sept. 2, 2016: Boston Red Sox

Sept. 28, 2016: Texas Rangers

Oct. 19, 2016: Brooklyn Dodgers

Nov. 30, 2016: Cincinnati Reds

Dec. 15, 2016: 2016 Season Update

Dec. 20, 2016: Seattle Mariners

Jan. 25, 2017: Milwaukee Brewers/Braves

Feb. 2, 2017: Cleveland Indians

Mar. 15, 2017: Los Angeles Dodgers

For our next installment of the Pyramid Ratings System’s all-time team series, we look at a team that has spent time in both leagues and four different divisions over its 50-plus year history, the Houston Astros, as part of the National League West.

A Hardball Times Update
Goodbye for now.

Although it took the Astros nearly two decades to post their first 85-plus win season, the club has experienced some solid runs of success. While never winning a World Series, it has 10 playoff appearances since 1980.

It’s no surprise that the Astros pull most of their roster from the ’80s on, but as we will soon see, Houston’s team is a solid blend of star players from every part of the franchise’s history, including today. Aside from 2011, there is not a season in team history including 2017, that does not feature multiple members of the 25-man roster.

With three active players on their 25-man team, the Astros are in position to improve their squad quickly. With one of the best front offices in baseball, the Astros could soon see even more members of their current squad join the all-time team.

Franchises Included: Houston Colt .45’s (1962-1964) Houston Astros (1965-present)

Hall of Famers on 25-man roster: 2

Manager: Bill Virdon
Honorable Mention: Larry Dierker

If we allowed player-managers in this league, the skipper of this club would be the man who has perhaps done more for the Astros franchise than anyone in its history, Larry Dierker.

Although Dierker’s tenure as the Astros manager was brief, the club won the National League Central in four out of his five seasons. Without question, that was the most consistent run of success in team history.

Despite that, I think his contributions as a pitcher overshadow his success as a manager which is why he will be featured in the starting rotation of the 25-man roster. Minus the choice of Dierker, the job falls to the next most successful Astros manager, Bill Virdon.

It was under Virdon that the Astros ended the eight-year Dodgers/Reds stranglehold on the NL West by winning the crown in 1980 and coming within one game of reaching the World Series. From 1979 through 1981, the club had a winning percentage of .559, still the best three-year stretch in team history.
Like Dierker, Virdon has been a baseball life,r still serving as a special instructor to the Pirates organization even into his 80s.

Best Overall Player, Position Player and Hitter: Jeff Bagwell

“Four-time All-Star Jeff Bagwell” sounds wrong. How can it only be four, for one of the greatest first baseman in baseball history and the backbone of this all-time Astros team.

Simply put, Bagwell was the complete package. A solid middle of the order threat who was top 10 in OPS seven times. A durable player who played in 160-plus games six times. And one of the most dependable defenders to ever field the position, a lock to be in the top five of every defensive metric at his peak.

Bagwell, who spent his entire 15-year career with the Astros, is also a two-time member of the 30/30 club, the only first baseman in major league history with this distinction. His 202 career steals are by far the most of any modern-day first baseman.

Bagwell would be one of the favorites to be the starter for the National League All-Star team in this all-time league. There is not a weakness to be found in Bagwell’s game and he would rank as one of the most dangerous hitters in the National League. Bagwell was that rare player who could cause damage at the plate, in the field or on the bases.

Best Pitcher: Roy Oswalt

As in Bagwell’s case, three-time All-Star Roy Oswalt fails to quantify a career of a man who for the better part of a decade was the ace of the Astros rotation. Whether Oswalt at his peak was the most dominant pitcher in Astros history is up for debate, but no Astros starter has been more consistently dominant over a longer period of time.

Through his first eight years with the club, Oswalt posted double-digit win totals every year. Each season from 2004 through 2009 he started at least 30 games and pitched at least 200 innings,never with an ERA+ below 100.

Oswalt is the last pitcher in major league history to win 20 or more games in back-to-back seasons. And he was exceptional at holding runners on base. In only two seasons with the Astros did he allow more than six stolen bases. Between 2005 and 2009, he committed one error. One.

In this league I would expect Oswalt to be an average number one starter. The closest talent comparison I can make to Oswalt among starters who have already been discussed would be Don Drysdale, which speaks to just how seriously I feel Oswalt’s Hall of Fame candidacy should be taken. Over his 10-year stretch with the Astros, I could count the number of starters I would take over Oswalt on one hand. That should be more than enough to warrant induction, but when guys like Curt Schilling and Mike Mussina are considered borderline, combined with the backlog of deserving players, it’s highly possible that Oswalt will join the ranks of great modern day starters like Kevin Brown and Bret Saberhagen who were never given a chance to make their Hall of Fame case to the writers.

Best Player Not on the Roster Due to the One-Team-Only Rule: Joe Morgan

As we’ve seen already with our one-team only rule, all losses are not felt equally. With a rich lineage of all-star caliber Astros second baseman to choose from, the loss of Joe Morgan isn’t nearly as impactful as it would be for other teams.

Based on the historical narrative of Morgan’s career, it’s surprising that Morgan played only 122 more games with the Reds than he did with Houston. Hardly any mention is made of the caliber of player Morgan was with the Astros, but Sparky Anderson was not bringing in some middle of the road journeyman to the Reds.

From 1969 through 1971, no other NL second baseman hit more home runs, scored more runs, drove in more runs, drew more walks or stole more bases than Joe Morgan. Had the Silver Slugger been awarded, Morgan likely would have won it all three years and it may have helped the Astros avoid making one of the most one-sided trades in baseball history.

Had Morgan stayed in Houston, Jeff Bagwell would likely not be listed as the greatest player in franchise history, the mid-’70s Astros would not be one bat short of being taken as serious contenders for the NL West and Hakeem Olajuwon would have competition for the greatest pro athlete in city history. Instead, the Astros are left with a legacy shared by the Boston Red Sox in being the only two teams to trade away the best position player they ever had before he reached his peak.

Houston Astros Coaching Staff
Position Person
Manager Bill Virdon
Bench Coach Hal Lanier
First Base Coach Reggie Abercrombie
Third Base Coach Willy Taveras
Hitting Coach Greg Gross
Pitching Coach Vern Ruhle
Bullpen Coach Jeff Heathcock
Houston Astros Starting Lineups
vs RHP vs LHP
Pos B T Name Pos B T Name
RF L L José Cruz LF R R Jimmy Wynn
LF S L Lance Berkman 1B R R Jeff Bagwell
3B R R Morgan Ensberg 3B R R Morgan Ensberg
CF R R Jimmy Wynn  C R R Craig Biggio
1B R R Jeff Bagwell 2B L R José Altuve
SS R R Dickie Thon RF L L José Cruz
2B R R Craig Biggio SS R R Dickie Thon
 C L R Jason Castro CF R R César Cedeño
 P R R Roy Oswalt  P R R Roy Oswalt
Pos B T Name Pos B T Name
RF L L José Cruz  C R R Craig Biggio
DH S L Lance Berkman 1B R R Jeff Bagwell
CF R R César Cedeño CF R R César Cedeño
LF R R Jimmy Wynn 2B L R José Altuve
1B R R Jeff Bagwell 3B R R Morgan Ensberg
 C L R Jason Castro RF L L José Cruz
SS R R Dickie Thon SS R R Dickie Thon
3B R R Morgan Ensberg DH R R Doug Rader
2B R R Craig Biggio LF R R Jimmy Wynn
Houston Astros Expanded Roster
Pos B T Name
    C R R Joe Ferguson
   1B R R Glenn Davis
1B/LF R R Bob Watson
   2B R R José Altuve
   SS R R Adam Everett
   IF R R Art Howe
   OF R R Richard Hidalgo
   OF L R Terry Puhl
   SP R L Mike Hampton
   SP R R Joe Niekro
   SP R R Shane Reynolds
   SP R R Don Wilson
   RP L L Juan Agosto
   RP R R Danny Darwin
   RP R R Ken Forsch


Historically, the Astros have been a team built around pitching and that remains the case with their all-time team. The starting rotation is one of the better ones in the NL with all five starters perennial Cy Young contenders along with pitchers like Joe Niekro and Don Wilson providing plenty of depth on 40-man roster should any injury issues arise. But the real strength of the pitching lies in the bullpen, which is one of the most dominate in this series.

Some would argue that Billy Wagner and not Roy Oswalt should be considered the greatest pitcher in Astros history. I would have Wagner on the NL All-Star team as one of the true shutdown closers in either league, but it’s the depth behind Wagner that makes this Astros bullpen so tough.

Wagner teams up with Octavio Dotel to form a fabulous setup-closer combination, but the bullpen is also bolstered by two other solid closers from team history: Dave Smith and Brad Lidge.

Unlike other teams where one or two big years is all it takes to make the bullpen, with the Astros longevity is required just to be considered, and with two quality lefties in Joe Sambito and Hal Woodeshick also in the ‘pen, the Astros are not going to be susceptible to any righty/lefty mismatch.

All of this adds up to not only the best bullpen in the NL West, but arguably the best in the NL as a whole.

Offensively the Astros are carried by the right side of their infield and their outfield. Much like the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Astros offense becomes a lot better facing a left-handed pitcher. I have César Cedeño, a career .294 hitter against lefties, batting eighth, showing how much confidence I have in the Astros against a lefty.

The fact that I have Jimmy Wynn listed in center over Cedeño, should not be taken as a locked in situation. Bagwell and Craig Biggio would come in at a pretty clear one-two for the best position players on the team, but three through six are all four outfielders. The overall ranking difference is less than 100 between top-rated outfielder Cedeño and the fourth ranked outfielder, José Cruz. I would probably use either lineup I have listed 10-15 times over the season. With the outfielders this bunched together in terms of overall ability, there really isn’t going to be an “average” lineup. All four would be seeing significant action.

Biggio’s ability to play behind the plate allows me to shoehorn José Altuve into the lineup against lefties. It does seem odd for somebody 5-foot-6 to be batting fifth, but Altuve is one of the rare left handed hitters in history who has fared far better against left-handed pitching than right-handed. His career OPS is more than 100 points higher going up against lefties.

Another oddity with lefty/righty splits is that Jimmy Wynn had a higher career batting average against righties, a higher career on base-percentage against lefties, a higher career slugging percentage against righties and a higher career OPS against lefties. What explains much of these split oddities is Wynn’s ability to draw walks. Against righties, Wynn was solid, but against lefties he was a walk machine.

The year Wynn led the NL in walks in 1969, he batted .247 against lefties, but had an on-base percentage of .458. To put that difference in perspective, the lowest single-season batting average of anyone in history in a full season who had an on-base percentage of at least .458 is Barry Bonds, who hit .276 to go with a .480 OBP in 2007.

With four players following up who all hit for more power from the left side than the right. any lefty not named Randy Johnson or Steve Carlton could find himself in quick trouble.


While the outfield and the right side of the infield are among the strongest in the National League, the left side of the infield and catcher are among the weakest. Dickie Thon will provide a decent glove at short, but he could be the worst offensive starting shortstop in the National League.

In the not too distant future, I would expect Carlos Correa to take over for Thon as the full-time starter and plug up what is for now a serious hole in the lineup, but he has only a season and a half f experience, so it’s not a move I can justify yet. Or, with Correa showing signs of defensive struggles at short, it’s possible that Thon could wind up keeping his role as the starting shortstop and Correa could instead take over for Morgan Ensberg at third.

Even though I have Ensberg batting against both righties and lefties, his placement at third in the order against right-handed pitcher is more the result of not having not having other power bats to turn to than an endorsement of his skills. Correa has the potential to correct that.

Historically, catcher has been a weak spot for Houston and that remains the case here. As much as I would like to pull Biggio from out behind the plate full-time, the emergence of Altuve at second base combined with their inability to produce a star catcher all but guarantees that Biggio is going to be the full-time starting catcher once Altuve becomes more established in a few years.

Although this is far from ideal, especially from a defensive perspective, there is nobody else to turn to. As limited as Biggio might be defensively and as much as the rigors of catching every day would affect the speed element of his game, he is still a member of the 3,000 hit club and if Biggio is to ever be replaced behind the plate, the person doing it is going to have to find a way to soften that loss of offensive productivity.

Biggio’s health will be huge as he represents the Astros’ best option at two different positions. Like Biggio, Joe Ferguson is not on the team because of his defensive wizardy behind the plate, while Brad Ausmus and his career OPS+ of 69 would be close to an automatic out in this league. That’s why I decided left the Astros’ best defensive option behind the dish off the team.

Just as important will be the health of the Astros’ four starting outfielders. The main reason why the Astros carry four outfielders instead of five is because there’s a big drop between whoever you consider the fourth best outfielder on that team and Terry Puhl/Richard Hidalgo. No matter you take out in exchange for either of them it’s an offensive downgrade, and the Astros don’t have the offensive depth to make up for losing a hitter the quality of José Cruz or Lance Berkman.

The lack of a true slugger aside from Bagwell could be the biggest thing holding this team back from serious pennant contention. As we’ve already seen and will see again, some teams have four-plus Hall of Famers in their starting lineup and that is what you need to keep up with teams like Cincinnati and St. Louis.

I would expect Bagwell to be a near lock to make the All-Star team, and possibly Biggio as well, but it’s hard to find a position player on this team that you would consider top-five in the NL at his position.


I don’t think many people would expect an all-time team with just two Hall of Famers and one pennant in its history to produce a solid well-rounded roster with solid depth and limited weaknesses, but that is exactly what we have.

I’d expect this team to be right around the .500 mark. Aside from having a weak left side infield, there’s really nothing wrong with these Astros. They just lack the same kinds of horses teams like Cleveland and Boston have.

I would put Houston’s bullpen ahead of both LA and San Francisco — the two top teams in their division. Offensively, I’d put them ahead of the Dodgers.

The Astros match up fairly well against LA and would probably play around .500 against them. Their strength against lefties nullifies a lot of the edge that Clayton Kershaw and Sandy Koufax would normally have, and Houston can match LA punch for punch out of the bullpen. Against San Francisco, the Astros would have a lot more problems.

The Giants’ starting rotation is almost exclusively righties and as good as Houston’s outfield is, it’s not even close to San Francisco’s brings to the table. If this were played out in a full season and San Francisco beat out LA for the division crown, I could see the Astros as a big reason why.

Altuve and Correa are going to be the two main factors in moving this team forward. Altuve has already cracked the starting lineup in a platoon role and eventually, I think, will supplant Biggio as the full-time second baseman. The defensive pill of Biggio behind the plate isn’t going away anytime soon, but if Altuve keeps putting up numbers like he has the last few years, the Astros won’t mind swallowing it.

Correa addresses the biggest weakness on this team, the left side of the infield. Whether he remains at short or is moved to third, I think Correa will eventually be seen as a major upgrade over either Ensberg or Thon and could go a long way in shoring up the offensive weakness with this Houston club.

Overall, I look at the Astros as a middle of the road team. Their pitching alone is enough to make them competitive, while the hitting, which has historically been a major weakness, has shown signs of improvement thanks to the addition of the killer Bs, Biggio and Bagwell.

Paul Moehringer is a data analyst, a SABR member and inventor of the Pyramid Rating System; originally from Mount Olive, NJ, now living in Westwood, MA. Follow him on Twitter @PMoehringer.
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5 years ago

Altuve bats right-handed.

Paul Moehringer
5 years ago
Reply to  jim

You’re right. Not sure how I could have missed that.

My apologizes.

Mike Easler
5 years ago

I guess a middle of the road team with holes at 3B, SS, and catcher(when Biggio plays 2B). It’s odd to see just one pennant for a franchise with 55 years of competition. It’s a shame what happened to J.R. Richard, he had a chance at a HOF-type career. Right up there with Nolan Ryan in terms of intimidation.

Billy Wagner was a quality closer, but he’s not a hall of famer, and I wouldn’t put him on any All-Star team in this format. Inexplicably, Wagner was bad in the postseason, really bad timing on his part.

Paul Moehringer
5 years ago
Reply to  Mike Easler

Middle of the road I would say is pretty apt and it’s the left side of the infield that’s holding them back the most.

As far as Richard goes, he would definitely be someone I would hold in much regard had he not had the health issues.

Very similar to Randy Johnson and Nolan in terms of being a flamethrower who just needed to learn some control.

By ’80 he had seemed to have figured it out and had he stayed healthy I think Houston probably would have gotten to at least one World Series.

As it was Houston had the deepest pitching in the National League without him. Adding him would have made it all but impossible for any team to outpitch the Astros.

With Billy Wagner I don’t want to get too in depth with his HOF candidacy. The only thing I’ll say is I don’t know why Trevor Hoffman is viewed that much more favorably by the writers. I didn’t see a large amount of difference between the two.

I’d give the slight edge to Wagner personally, but I don’t see how anyone could say one pitcher is hands down better than the other. Too much investment is being put into the save rule.

As far as this league goes, I look at him as a solid closer for a bullpen who’s total sum is greater than the individual parts.

He’s not the best reliever in the NL and the fact that he losses seasons to NY and Philly takes him down from where he would be all-time, but I would still put him in the top ten for best relievers in the NL.

5 years ago

Paul, outstanding article (as usual).

Can’t disagree with any position. Love the way you were able to get players from every era of the team, remembering 1960s players like the Toy Cannon and Dierker, 1970 players like JR. Richard, Cedeno, Ferguson and Sambito, 1980 players like Scott and Glenn Davis, players from the ’00s like Bagwell and Berkman and even active players like Altuve.

Question – Is Nolan Ryan also impacted by the One Team Only Rule?

Paul Moehringer
5 years ago
Reply to  Carl

The fact that you’re even have to ask about Ryan I think is a testament to how good Houson’s pitching has been over their history.

Without the one-team rule Nolan would be in the back end of the rotation in pretty much the same role he would have in Texas.

I think his numbers were better with Houston, but Houston also has a deeper rotation than the Rangers.

As far as including all era’s in, it’s not something I seek to do but it’s nice when I’m able to.

There’s been and will continue to be teams with huge swaths of history missing.

The Astros have rarely been great, but aside from their tanking phase of the early 2010’s they’re rarely been god awful. Between ’68 and 2010 they only posted two seasons where they won fewer than 70 games (’81 and ’94 excluded.)

At the very least they’ve had a consistent level of decency and given their current roster this could be a team ready to break out as one of the more dominating teams of this era.

Just from what I’ve seen from them this year they would be my pick to win the AL Pennant.

They pass the name test in terms of fielding a roster that sounds like it could win a World Series. They’re battle tested and aside from a few nit picky items they have no real weaknesses.

It’s also a club that’s built to last even if they don’t get it done this year.

5 years ago

What about Ken Caminiti? He’s the reason Bagwell moved to first base.

What about Moises Alou?

What about Mike Scott?

James Edmunds
5 years ago
Reply to  Carl

Not sure why you didn’t explain the one team only rule a little bit more. Lance Berkman went to the Cardinals and won the World Series not sure how that feat wouldn’t eliminate him due to your rule.

Paul Moehringer
5 years ago
Reply to  James Edmunds

It’s the idea that I can only use a name once when naming the all-time teams and I do it mainly to talk about and mention as many players as possible.

I try to fit guys on where they had their best years and where they would see the most amount of playing time.

I’m not sure what you are talking about with Berkman. There’s no debate with which club his best years came with and the fact that he won a World Series in St. Louis and not in Houston is neither here nor there.

87 Cards
5 years ago

Stepping outside of the Pyramid template of this series:

Executive: Tal Smith

1963–assistant to President of the Houston Sports Association, builders of the AstroDome

Astros Farm Director 1965-1973

Astros GM: 1975 to 1980 (egregious dismissal after the near brink of 1980 World Series)

Astros Team President: 1994 to 2011 (owner Jim Crane brought in a wide-broom, including ripping NL baseball out of Texas)

Tal’s fingerprints are on every player on this list and, until the recent-demolition of Tal’s Hill, on Minute Maid Park as well as the AstroDome.

Paul Moehringer
5 years ago
Reply to  87 Cards

I considered adding including GM’s along with coaches. Only reason I decided against it was because it would have been too much work, but it is something I may consider revisiting down the road depending on the interest of this series after its complete.

There’s already changes I would like to make to previous articles, but I also don’t think I’m ever going to be 100% satisfied with anything I do because I’m constantly reevaluating how I view players and their standing in history.

All that being said the accomplishments of Smith are definitely ones with mentioning when talking about the history of the Astros organization. I mentioned earlier about Larry Dierker being the most important figure in Houston’s history, but Tal Smith puts him a very good argument as well. There’s only so much I can talk about in these articles, which is why I’m happy to give further evaluation in comments.

John G.
5 years ago
Reply to  87 Cards

And let’s not forget the All-Time Franchise Song, “Proud To Be An Astro,” as described by Jim Bouton in “Ball Four.”

James M.
5 years ago

I’m guessing you didn’t put Caminiti as the 3rd baseman because you put him on another team (although by far he played the vast amount of his career as an Astro). I don’t think many Astros fans would seriously put Ensberg above Caminiti. Or, for that matter, would have put Ensberg above Doug Rader.

As far as reserve outfielders go, I’m also a bit surprised you’d put Puhl above Kevin Bass or even Derek Bell (both of whom finished in the NL MVP voting in at least one season).

And, on the note of catchers, you mention that you thought Ausmus wouldn’t be able to compete in this league, are you really suggesting Jason Castro (with his horrible numbers) was better. Heck, I’d even put Bob Aspromonte or Alan Ashby on the team long before I’d put Jason Castro.

Paul Moehringer
5 years ago
Reply to  James M.

I think its a tossup between Caminiti and Ensberg for the best 3B in Astros history, but its hard for me to look at someone who won an MVP and say his best numbers didn’t come with that team.

I think Rader 3B, but Ensberg has two season (’03 and ’05) that were better than anything Rader ever put up.

Rader was definitely more consistent but at their best Ensberg was the better player and that’s mainly what this system is looking for.

Terry Puhl has more seasons with Houston than both Bass and Bell, a higher OPS+ with the ‘Stros than both Bass and Bell, he’s a better defensive player than both and in 1980 you could argue he was the best player on that team that went to the NLCS and got that close to making the World Series. He certainly was the best player the Astros had in the playoffs that year. So I don’t see where either Bass or Bell could even have an argument over Puhl.

With Ausmus, his career OPS+ with Houston is 69. Jason Castro and his horrible numbers only had one season with the Astros where he was lower that and it was his rookie year.

Ausmus was and is the best defensive catcher the Astros ever had, but no amount of defense in the world is going to make up for that type of offensive deficiency. He would be a Mendoza-line singles hitter with no speed.

I don’t anticipate Jason Castro winning Gold Gloves anytime soon, but I wouldn’t describe him as a defensive liability either.

A lot of this is probably going to be a moot point by the end of the season, because Altuve is already better than any catcher the Astros ever had not named Craig Biggio and that gap is only going to increase as time goes on. This is probably the last year where I can justify Altuve in a platoon role.

As little faith as I have in Biggio behind the plate defensively, especially when it comes to throwing runners out, I will live with the consequences if it means getting a two-time batting champ and three-time Silver Slugger winner in the lineup who’s still going.

5 years ago
Reply to  James M.

In defense of Paul, Ensberg had a higher batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS+ and more home runs in his 7 seasons with the Astros than Caminiti had in his 10 seasons with Houston. Enberg was 266/367/475 for a 116+ with 105 HRs. Caminiti with Houston was 264/330/404 for a 102+ and 103 HRs. Rader by the way in 9 seasons with he team hit 250/318/402 for an OPS+ of 104.

5 years ago
Reply to  Carl

The vast majority Caminiti’s seasons with the Astros came in the Astrodome. All of Ensberg’s came in MMP. I don’t think any Astro fan loves Morgan Ensberg more than they love Ken Caminiti, and they certainly don’t consider him the better hitter.

5 years ago
Reply to  James M.

I’d actually been about to post something about the downgrade from Caminiti to Ensberg possibly being a bigger One-Team-Rule casualty than losing Joe Morgan when you have Craig Biggio…but upon further review, I was really underrating Morgan Ensberg. Very short career, but dude could hit.

Kind of illustrates how subjective our memories are, because I think we ALL (Astros fans or no) remember Caminiti as an entirely different class of player…

Brad Ausmus
5 years ago

Jason Castro… Are you serious?

5 years ago

The stronger than anticipated team reminds me of one of the biggest questions that I have: what is the correlation between the strength of these teams and the overall winning percentage? I image it would be very strong; the Red Sox and Indians have two of the best rosters thus far, and they have both played in a single city for 100+ years and the second and third highest winning percentage in the AL. The Astros actually have the second highest winning percentage of any expansion franchise (after the Angels) and it really shows here: I image this team will be stronger than the Mets who started playing the same year.

Paul Moehringer
5 years ago
Reply to  Scott

There’s definitely a pretty high correlation between franchise winning percentage and how strong your all-time team is.

What I find being the highest correlation though is the number of good to great seasons a team has, because any season where the team wins fewer than 85 games most likely isn’t going to help your team out a whole lot. A 70 win season might as well be a 20 win season as far as the benefit they provide especially for the more established teams like Cincinnati and Chicago.

Perfect example of this would be the Orioles. They get more help from the inclusion of the 1890’s NL version of the Orioles than they ever would from the St. Louis Browns who played 50+ years.

The Philadelphia A’s another good case. They’re a sub-.500 franchise, but they also won five World Series and those championship do a lot more to help the team than those dark ages teams of the mid-30’s-mid 40’s hurt them.

Even if had the A’s teams won 10 more games every year over that stretch, their roster would be almost identical.

Paul G.
5 years ago

You have Altuve on the expanded roster. I think that should be Doran.

Paul Moehringer
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

Doran is already on the 25-man roster, so he’s out and the Astros are already pretty well set on infield, so I’d probably go with Michael Bourn as a replacement, with Kevin Bass being another name I would consider.

Bourn has a lot more value as a defender and a speedster, while Bass is more productive with the stick.

I don’t know why I screwed up Altuve so bad because that’s two mistakes now with the same player and I have no excuse for that.

Paul G.
5 years ago

Eh, it happens. I am really enjoying this series so keep up the good work.

Paul Moehringer
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

Well you can officially replace Altuve’s 40-man spot with Michael Bourn who was originally on the Atlanta Braves 40-man squad.

Paul G.
5 years ago

How about Rusty Staub, or did he end up in Montreal?

Joe Pancake
5 years ago

The even more wild Jim Wynn BA-OBP split came in 1976 (though with the Braves, not the Astros). His slash line was .207/.377/.367. He barely broke the Mendoza Line and didn’t even slug .370, and yet he was still a good hitter (114 OPS+)!

Joe Pancake
5 years ago
Reply to  Joe Pancake

That should be wRC+, not OPS+.

5 years ago

these are great I hope you get to Toronto before I die.

just kidding, but seriously get a move on please.

5 years ago

How can Mike Scott not be on this team?

5 years ago
Reply to  Scott

#2 starter. And enough of a slam-dunk to require no further discussion, apparently.

Scott Burgos
5 years ago
Reply to  Zeke

Oh whoops, okay that makes sense.

Scott Burgos
5 years ago
Reply to  Scott Burgos

I think it’ll be a disappointment if Bregman doesn’t end up the astros best 3B being that’s it’s such a weak position for them historically. But I understand it’s way too early right now. I think Springer is worthy of mention and I’d probably have found a spot for him. I know it hasn’t been long, but he’s clearly a legit slugger who should have a better career than some of the OF that made the team.

John G.
5 years ago

Most importantly, will the rainbow jersey be the primary uniform for this all-time Houston Astros team?

Matt Galante
5 years ago

Willy Taveras?

C. Mac
5 years ago

Were is the mention of Nolan? You said something about Joe. M? Would Nolan not have been on this list if he were not on the fill in blank Mets, Angles, Rangers?

Larry Shannon Gaston
5 years ago

Some big whiffs, but ok choices… would have to follow the Astros all of their History and put away the stat book. Firstly, you cannot compare stats on the older players as the Dome was very limiting and if some did not play there they would look much better. Jimmy Wynn would be a HOFer if he played elsewhere. Cesar Cedeno was the most gifted 5 tool player we ever had.

JR Richard,Dierker,Ryan..all better choices than Roy…but you can argue that if you are just looking at quantity. Rader over Ensberg. Put Biggio behind the plate and that puts Altuve at 2B LOL…anyways, good stuff

Timbo crangle
5 years ago

Do the Yankees next please

json editor
5 years ago

It’s no surprise that the Astros pull most of their roster from the ’80s on

5 years ago

Depending on how you “play” this, Dickie Thon at SS could not be that big of an issue. If you go by best season, he probably lines up favorably with many other teams SS’s. He had a 6 WAR season in 1982, 7 WAR in 1983., hitting 20 HR in a cavernous ballpark, 127 OPS + while playing great defense, at age 25.

If you’re going by career totals or including the years after his beanball to make an “average” of his Astros career, he falls short, of course, but, he was possibly on a HOF trajectory prior to that. Not to mention that it may have cost Houston a WS appearance in 1986.

One of the all-time tragedies.

Mark West
5 years ago

Houston was my team from the very first year or at least it was until he who has a special place in Hell went and shafted the Astros once again. Moving them to the AL and to the AL West Division which was all I could stands and I couldn’t stands no more. I washed my hands of them.

What was Houston’s biggest weakness? Ownership and the GM’s before Tal Smith, and even Tal had to fight for all he was worth to keep a decent team on the field. John McMullen is praised in some corners but he was a carpetbagging scallywag who is probably keeping a seat warm for his old buddy Bud Selig. Two biggest weasels in baseball. And let’s not forget Spec Richardson and the damage he did.

The Astros of present day aren’t my Astros. The team is dead to me now.