2022 MLB Playoffs: Is This The Best Promo Team For The Astros Ever?

by Jordan Shusterman
FOX Sports MLB Writer

Four roles in AstrosLatest postseason run, nothing makes any sense.

Justin Verlanderthe front-runner for this year’s AL Cy Young Award and the number one celebrity polling booth of the future, has been rocking by Seattle Mariners.

After another massive regular season for Verlander, who was Toughest qualifying starting pitcher In baseball to score a hit against (.184 BAA), here the team with the third lowest batting average (.230) in baseball was only knocking it across the yard. The 10 hits conceded across those four shock rounds were the most allowed in 31 post-season career starts and the most at any start. Since April 15, 2017. Minute Maid Park was shocked.

However, from the moment Verlander left early all the way to his last exit from Marathon 3, Houston’s shooting trajectory was convincingly corrected, returning to the elite form he had established all season.

Verlander allowed six runs on ten times in just four rounds of action. In the 32 rounds that followed, the 10 Astros pitchers combined to allow only 15 hits and three runs while hitting 36 hitters in Seattle and making only 10 free passes. After hitting the .500 against Verlander, the Sailors were only able to muster an average of 144 strokes the rest of the way. The Houston show finished the ALDS with 23 consecutive frames without goals. It was an exciting display of domination from a ridiculously profound array of weapons.

Yes, the biggest name to come out of the ALDS sweep of Houston in Seattle was undoubtedly the name Slugger Jordan Alvarez Because of the two dramatic dingers. It was also a reminder that perhaps for the first time in the Houston Dynasty series, center shooters are outdone.

Although the hitters have consistently received more spotlights during AL Houston’s record six consecutive ALCS trips, it’s not like the promotion hasn’t been elite at times either. But last year’s run to the world championship had a lot to do with having one of the best squads in the league. This year, Houston’s show is back at the elite levels it established in 2018 and 2019. Here’s a look at how the Astros’ display has stacked up league-wide over the past six seasons:

era:

  • 2017: 4.12 (11th in MLB)
  • 2018: 3.11 (first)
  • 2019: 3.66 (second)
  • 2020: 4.31 (13)
  • 2021: 3.80 (7th)
  • 2022: 2.91 (first)

strike rate:

  • 2017: 26.1% (third)
  • 2018: 28.5% (first)
  • 2019: 27.9% (first)
  • 2020: 23.5% (13)
  • 2021: 24% (12th)
  • 2022: 26% (second)

Fang war:

  • 2017: 19 (11th in MLB)
  • 2018: 28.6 (first)
  • 2019: 24.2 (third)
  • 2020: 6.3 (12)
  • 2021: 16.9 (tenth)
  • 2022: 27 (first)

Average hits against:

  • 2017: .238 (7th in MLB)
  • 2018: .215 (1)
  • 2019: .219 (3rd place)
  • 2020: .237 (13)
  • 2021: .226 (third)
  • 2022: .210 (Second)

You can see that Verlander wasn’t just an elite blocker before his uncharacteristic descent into the ALDS. The contenders only scored 0.210 against Houston on the whole, the fourth lowest BAA of any team since the 1947 integration. It’s pretty impressive, but this amazingly low mark generally fits in with the way baseball has been heading in terms of average beating. . Look no further than two of the three top teams: 2021 (.207) and 2022 Dodgers (.209). The real superpower of the 2022 Astros wasn’t just blocking hits overall, but blocking additional base hits. The opponents hit only 0.332 against the Astros this season—the lowest mark for any team since the 1988 Mets (.329) and 1988 Dodgers (.327), who met appropriately in the NLCS that season. It’s also the 12th lowest SLG% allowed by any team since they lowered the pile in 1969.

So who are those shooters who have stifled opposing hitters all year long? Pure prudence, it would be an exaggeration to say that current Astros rookies match up with an amazing 2018 spin that not only Verlander, but another universe Gerrit ColeCharlie Morton before surgery Lance McCullers Jr.. Dallas Keuchel is still active. But Astros starters scored a 2.95 ERA in 2022, which is lower than the 3.16 marks produced in 2018. The new partner along with Verlander is Framber Valdezwhich is a completely different style of shooter than Cole, but can split any lineup with a curved knife/ball combo that results in historical levels of shooters.

Behind Valdes, McCullers Jr looked phenomenal after missing the first several months due to injury.

Lance McCullers Jr. dominates

Lance McCullers Jr. dominates

Lance McCullers Jr. hit 11 sports and helped the Houston Astros win 5-2

Luis Garcia And the Christian Jaffer Proving capable of both starting and loosening innings, Javier in particular has set his own historic season: His 0.170 hitting average against him was the third lowest of any bowler with at least 100 innings since the MLB took down the pile in 1968, behind only 2021 Freddy Peralta (.165), 1980 J.R. Richard (.166), and 2000 Pedro Martinez (.167). Jose Urquidi (3.94 ERA, 4.60 FIP) is the obvious weak link, but even he has had moments of success after the season in recent years.

However, as good as the start was, it’s this year’s extraordinarily deep game that makes the 2022 staff so great. The Astros’ finishers posted a best 2.80 ERA of the MLB this season, and 2.91 ERA in the 7-9 innings specifically, which is also the best mark for any team. That’s a huge improvement over the slants Houston has relied on over the past two seasons, which have been much closer to the league average, and puts them in an excellent position to take on a clocker or two from a start, as they showed with Verlander against Seattle. Ryan Presley He is the most common face, as he has been the closest person since he hit the trade deadline in 2018, and has just recorded the highest strike rate (35.7%) of his career. Presley’s Kaspertan balls are still some of the best armies in baseball, but it’s the newer additions to the Relief Corps’ collective arsenal that have taken this group even further: Ren Stanek Beat the four tailors, Hector Neres“A wonderful traitor, Rafael Monteiro change, Brian Abro Amazing slider and so on. Hard to throw higher pitching probability Hunter Brown He’s also slipped seamlessly into the Bullpen role despite developing as a starter.

And to think, it would be deeper Phil Mattoon (3.84 ERA this regular season; ER allowed one in 12 appearances in the latest post-season season) No closet punched. The ALCS roster also does not include veteran left-winger Will Smith, one of the last post-season stars to get on the deadline but opt ​​to leave in favor of their army of resplendent right-handers. The Astros added another arm for the ALCS in Seth Martinez, a 28-year-old rookie who posted 2.09 ERA in Round 38.2 this season but hasn’t featured since September 15. Right-handed hitters only managed 394 OPS against Martinez in the regular season, so he It can be a good weapon for some matches – However, we’re still talking about the seventh or eighth guy you’ll likely see Dusty Baker turn to with so many great options already available.

Houston built an impressive unit of 13 men They will take in ALCS against the Yankees And maybe further. Yes, Altuve, Bregman and Alvarez will likely continue to attract the bulk of the attention. But if Houston does finally have another world championship — one the baseball world will know as clean — it will be because the stadium is as good as ever. This says something.

Jordan Shusterman Half @CespedesBBQ and baseball writer for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @j_shusterman_.


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