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1998 Houston Astros - Best Team to Never Make a World Series?

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by rockets934life, May 5, 2010.

  1. rockets934life

    rockets934life Contributing Member

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    With the historically bad beginning to this season it got me to look at the best club in franchise history, by regular season wins, and some of the ridiculous numbers that team put up. It was truly amazing they got shut down by Hitchcock, I know Brown was an elite pitcher so I wasn't to surprised there, but Sterling was below average at best.

    The offense was amazing, Brad FREAKING Ausmus was a .269 hitter with a .352 OBP for crying out loud. Alou, Biggio and Bags was arguably the best hitters in the National League if not all of baseball that year.

    Alou - .312 BA 38 HRs 124 RBI 84 BB .399 OBP .582 SLG .981 OPS

    Bags - .304 BA 34 HRs 111 RBI 109 BB .424 OBP .557 SLG .981 OPS

    Biggio-.325 BA 20 HRs 88 RBI 51 2B 50 SB .403 OBP .503 SLG .906 OPS

    That is just to name a few, it is truly incredible to see that product on an everyday basis and their pitching was almost as good. No one in our starting rotation had an ERA above 3.72 minus Schourek who I believe was traded mid-season. Of course Johnson was devastating but Shane Reynolds was great 19-8 3.51 ERA 209 SO and a 1.329 WHIP, Lima was Lima and Hampton was coming into his own. Wagner was nails and Doug Henry was a pretty good setup man. We had bench had guys like Spiers, Tony Eusebio and Tim Bogar giving us important play over the season. That team was LOADED and excelled at every phase of the game.

    So, how the %^%^ did we not play in the World Series that year??? :confused:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/HOU/1998.shtml
     
  2. Poloshirtbandit

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    this thread makes me more depressed :(
     
  3. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    Kevin Brown :(
     
  4. BrooksBall

    BrooksBall Contributing Member

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    I didn't follow the Astros back then but glossing over the hitting and pitching statistics, they were the best offensive team in the NL and had the second best pitching.

    SD had very good pitching and an above average offense but they weren't nearly as good as the Astros, overall.

    The simple answer to your question is that the best team doesn't always win.
     
  5. desihooper

    desihooper Contributing Member
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    and MLB putting days off between the first two games allowed Brown to come back on short rest and dominate us again in Game 3 after pitching an absolute gem in Game 1.
     
  6. Hammer755

    Hammer755 Contributing Member

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    Not hardly. The 2001 Seattle Mariners won 116 games, while scoring the most runs in the AL and allowing the fewest.
     
  7. Hammer755

    Hammer755 Contributing Member

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    The 1998 Astros weren't even the best team in 1998 ... in the National League to miss the World Series. The Braves won 106 games and probably had the best combined season from the Smoltz/Glavine/Maddux trio.
     
  8. BrooksBall

    BrooksBall Contributing Member

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    If you are going by offensive and pitching statistics, you could argue that the Astros were better than the Braves despite winning 4 fewer games.

    I understand that W-L is all that matters in the end but it seems that the Astros certainly had more overall talent. Maybe the Braves had slightly lesser competition with the Expos and Marlins being incredibly bad. I don't know, just guessing.

    The Astros led the NL in runs scored and OPS+ and were second (behind the Braves) in runs allowed and ERA+. The Braves were 5th in runs scored and 3rd in OPS+.

    The Astros had the best run differential in the NL, slightly better than that of the Braves.

    Batting: http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/1998-standard-batting.shtml

    Pitching: http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/1998-standard-pitching.shtml

    I think you could make a good argument for both teams.

    The Astros were certainly better, on paper, than the Padres but that's why they play the games.
     
  9. Hmm

    Hmm Member

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    ah... back in my younger, naive days... a time when the Astros were actually expected by those in the know, the media and so-called "experts", to reach the NLCS... sporting a strong offense from 1 to 6... solid starting pitching lead by an ace that threw K parties every game with an effortless air...like so many games of catch... backed by a closer that only reaffirmed such confidence... that if we had the lead... and Wags was walking up the mound... it was all over but tallying the win into next day's paper...


    then Kevin Brown happened.... and so many were left wondering... what the hell just happened.......
     
  10. Hmm

    Hmm Member

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    not to mention Wags going from devestating... a closer whose name might be up their with Hoffman and Rivera... to Leyritz's personal batting practise pitcher...
     
  11. Hammer755

    Hammer755 Contributing Member

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    I agree, it's basically a coin toss and I certainly agree that the Padres weren't better then either team. The Astros had a team OPS+ of 109 against the Braves 107, while Atlanta had a much larger advantage in ERA+ (128 vs. 118).

    I think the difference in pitching was greater than the difference in hitting, thus giving the Braves a slight advantage, but there's certainly room for discussion.
     
  12. BrooksBall

    BrooksBall Contributing Member

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    Yea, that's a good point, Hammer.

    However, run differential to me is the biggest indicator of a team's dominance, as it is with most every sport.

    Without having looked into it, maybe the Braves benefited from an easier schedule, getting to play more games against the Expos and Marlins.

    You could make strong arguments for both teams. They were both great and both came up short.
     
  13. BrooksBall

    BrooksBall Contributing Member

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    On a side note, as dominant as that 98 team was offensively, not one player had an OPS as good as Berkman in his 3 best seasons.

    Bagwell did have a higher OPS in his strike-shortened MVP year but to me, that's a little bit tainted given that he never came close to those numbers before or after that.

    Regardless, Berkman is special. I'd say that he and Bagwell are neck-and-neck for best Astros hitter of all-time. Right now, the numbers favor Berkman but let's revisit them at the end of Berkman's career. Bagwell played 3 additional seasons that dropped his overall numbers just slightly.

    Edit: After factoring in for ballparks, you have to go with Bagwell. His OPS+ was 149 to Berkman's 146 and that number got knocked down during the last 3 years of his career.
     
    #13 BrooksBall, May 5, 2010
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  14. Major

    Major Member

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    Keep in mind also that the Astros at the end of the season had Randy Johnson, whereas they didn't the first half. So while the Braves were the better team over the course of the entire season, you could make the case that the Astros were the better team going into the playoffs.
     
  15. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    The lineup on that team was just flawed in my opinion, especially Derek Bell in the two hole. Too many guys who struck out a lot, too many right handed hitters, and a lot of good base runners but only one guy who could really steal a base when he had to do it. In retrospect, the Kerry Wood game showed the vulnerability of that lineup. Kevin Brown just worked them over like Wood did, sliders away and smokin heat.
     
  16. DieHard Rocket

    DieHard Rocket Contributing Member

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    Such a disappointing ending to that season.

    Hunsicker went for it all with the RJ trade and gave us a championship rotation. Then Kevin Brown and Jim Leyrtiz destroyed it all :(
     
  17. Cannonball

    Cannonball Contributing Member

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    I watched every single game that season. I'm pretty sure that's the only time I've ever done that.
     
  18. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    exactly right....they may have been a 110 win team with Randy all season.

    1998 was undoubtedly the best Astros team I ever saw.
     
  19. Shroopy2

    Shroopy2 Contributing Member

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    All time, hard to say. Past 20 years, they make a good case.

    Just goes to show the success the NY Yankees, how their fans get spoiled by it. The Yankees have had three 100+ win teams NOT win a World Series in just the past 8 years.
     
  20. ryan17wagner

    ryan17wagner Member

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    Nope. 2001 Seattle Mariners won 116 games, an AL record at the time, and were one-and-done in the playoffs.
     

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