Friday, November 7, 2014

Silver Slugger/Wet Noodle

It was announced yesterday that Jose Altuve won the AL Silver Slugger award for 2B. On the year, Altuve put up a .341/.377/.453 line while leading the league in batting average. While his 7 home runs may lend some to think the "Slugger" portion of the award was overlooked, his 47 doubles were 2nd in the league. His 135 wRC+ was barely edged out by Robinson Cano's 136 wRC+, but such advanced statistics are silly, right? My favorite stat comparison between the two, though, is that Cano was paid $22.75M more for his production than Altuve. Typical, cheap Astros, right? No integrity!

Altuve's award got me wondering how other Astros stacked up compared to their fellow positional colleagues. For the most part, it made me glad there's not a Wet Noodle award handed out each year. Here's how Houston stacks up in the battle for the Wet Noodle:

C - Among those with at least 400 PA, Castro ranked last with an 84 wRC+, barely loosing out to Seattle's Mike Zunino, who hit .199 on the season but added 22 HR to just avoid the Wet Noodle

1B - To find Houston's rank here, we had to lower the threshold to 350 PA. Jon Singleton finished 3rd for the award here, though it was a close race. Singleton put up a 79 wRC+, losing out to Kendrys Morales' 72 wRC+. In the end, Singleton's walk rate, 3rd highest in this group, boosted him just off the podium.

2B - We already know how Altuve did. The worst everyday 2B in the AL was Omar Infante, who hit .252/.295/.337 for a 76 wRC+

SS - We again had to lower the threshold to find an Astro, this time to 300 PA. Surprisingly, Marwin Gonzalez had the 2nd highest wRC+ in this group at 108, behind Danny Santana's 133 wRC+. Stephen Drew gets the Wet Noodle with a 44 wRC+.

3B - Another award for the Astros!!! Matt Dominguez wins this one limping away, as his 63 wRC+ was the lowest of all qualified AL batters in 2014. "But his defense!" you may say. Yeah, didn't help him any. His -1.7 WAR was also lowest among all AL players. Matt Dominguez was literally the worst player in the AL last year, and tied with Dominic Brown of the Phillies for worst in the entire major leagues, as measured by WAR.

LF - With a minimum of 400 PA, Robbie Grossman placed 4th for the Wet Noodle. His 95 wRC+, buoyed by his LF leading 13% walk rate, was "topped" by Dayan Viciedo's 88 wRC+.

CF - Dexter Fowler acquitted himself well this season, as only MVP finalists Mike Trout and Michael Brantley had higher marks than Fowler's 124 wRC+. Austin Jackson wins the award here with his 85 wRC+.

RF - We had to drop the PA requirements to 300 to find an Astros player. George Springer actually put up the 3rd highest wRC+ in this group. His 127 wRC+ was behind only Jose Bautista and some guy named J.D. Martinez. Huh, never heard of him. Last year's ROY Wil Myers flops around the Wet Noodle this year with a 78 wRC+.

DH - Chris Carter finished about mid-pack here with a 123 wRC+. Not surprisingly, DHs hit pretty well, with Billy Butler's 97 wRC+ taking home the award.

P - Hahahaha...yeah, right. Peacock led the team with 5 PA, and I'm not sorting through 108 pitchers when over half of them had "perfect" -100 wRC+.