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Monday, October 18, 2021

One of best ever? Astros INF has a case

Over the next five years, Gurriel at first, Altuve at second, Correa at short and Bregman at third have represented excellence on the diamond for the Astros, who have reached the AL Championship Series for five consecutive seasons with a core that includes those four on the infield.

When the Astros play the Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday at Fenway Park, Gurriel, Altuve, Correa and Bregman will play in their 64th career postseason game together. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the most postseason games played by four teammates at any position in Major League history….

Astros manager Dusty Baker said the foursome will go down as one of the best infields in history, and that’s probably based mostly on what they’ve done in the playoffs. Correa and Altuve are two of the greatest postseason performers of this generation, but Bregman and Gurriel have had huge moments in the playoffs, too.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 18, 2021 at 12:14 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros

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   1. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 18, 2021 at 04:05 AM (#6047101)
In the Wild Card era (since 1995), Altuve, Correa, Bregman and Gurriel have started 267 games together in the regular season, which is the fifth most in baseball in that span among infielders.

Adrián Beltré, Jose Lopez, Richie Sexson and Yuniesky Betancourt of the Mariners lead the way since 1995 with 304 games started together, followed by Robinson Canó, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira of the Yankees (290), Luis Castillo, Alex Gonzalez, Derek Lee and Mike Lowell of the Marlins (279) and Scott Brosius, Jeter, Chuck Knoblauch and Tino Martinez of the Yankees (268).


Well, I certainly never would've guessed the 2005-2008 Mariners would be at the top of the list.

But 304 seems really low. That's basically two healthy seasons. Looks like Beltre, Lopez, and Betancourt played about 500 games together as a trio, so 1B is the weak point.
   2. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 18, 2021 at 09:28 AM (#6047112)
Gurriel certainly has worked out better than I expected when he came up from Cuba. I saw a 30+ free-swinger with a dreadful cup of of coffee on his resume, but he's been significantly better than that.

Also, did he really win a batting title with a BA of .319 this year? Man, that feels low. I don't know if it actually is, but there's some fundamental level on which my brain is still living in the world of Nomar & Helton both batting .372.
   3. Russ Posted: October 18, 2021 at 09:35 AM (#6047114)
But 304 seems really low. That's basically two healthy seasons. Looks like Beltre, Lopez, and Betancourt played about 500 games together as a trio, so 1B is the weak point.


Every position you add makes it go down considerably (I would guess by about half). I bet if you go to two players, it will be something like 1000 (or more).
   4. JJ1986 Posted: October 18, 2021 at 09:43 AM (#6047116)
I don't know how to figure it exactly, but Jeter and Cano each played over 1200 games for the Yankees from 2005-2012.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: October 18, 2021 at 09:48 AM (#6047118)
Every position you add makes it go down considerably (I would guess by about half). I bet if you go to two players, it will be something like 1000 (or more).


I'm guessing the current three-man leaders would be Belt-Posey-Crawford and the two-man would be some combination of two of those guys.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: October 18, 2021 at 09:50 AM (#6047119)
And all-time, the Dodgers' 70s quartet of Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey has to be the infield leaders, right?

Edit: From the FA, they played 810 games together.
   7. bunyon Posted: October 18, 2021 at 10:10 AM (#6047120)
Also, did he really win a batting title with a BA of .319 this year?

This is the first year in MLB history in which no one hit .320. There have been several batting champs with BA lower than Yuli's .319, but the champ in the other league always hit above .320.

This year, Juan Soto won the NL title at .313.
   8. JJ1986 Posted: October 18, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6047123)
I thought Trea Turner won the NL batting title.
   9. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: October 18, 2021 at 10:28 AM (#6047125)
And all-time, the Dodgers' 70s quartet of Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey has to be the infield leaders, right?


Looking it up, the Dodgers quartet played in 40 postseason games together - would have been 45 but it looks like Cey missed 5 games somewhere.

I don't know what the correction factor should be, but it seems like 40 in the pre-wildcard era is > 64 in the post-wildcard era. The LCS was only best-of-five back then as well.
   10. bunyon Posted: October 18, 2021 at 10:35 AM (#6047128)
I thought Trea Turner won the NL batting title.

Well, son of a #####. He hit .328. I know I read what I typed in 7 somewhere.

So never mind - someone hit .320.


ETA: Thanks for correcting me, by the way.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: October 18, 2021 at 10:38 AM (#6047130)
Looking it up, the Dodgers quartet played in 40 postseason games together - would have been 45 but it looks like Cey missed 5 games somewhere.


I meant they were the regular season leaders.
   12. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 18, 2021 at 11:47 AM (#6047148)
is the first year in MLB history in which no one hit .320. There have been several batting champs with BA lower than Yuli's .319, but the champ in the other league always hit above .320.

In many ways Pete Rose's .336 BA in 1968 was one of the most impressive numbers ever, given that the NL as a whole batted only .243. That was the same year that Yaz led the AL with .301 while the AL collectively hit .230.
   13. Booey Posted: October 18, 2021 at 11:50 AM (#6047149)
Well, the overall league batting average of .244 was the lowest in almost 50 years (1972), and tied for the 3rd lowest of the past 100+ years, so it's not too surprising that the league leaders had pretty unimpressive totals. Tony Gwynn led the NL with a .313 in 1988, but that felt pretty flukey considering the AL had Boggs at .366 and Puckett at. 356 (and the year before Gwynn hit .370, Boggs .363, Molitor. 353, Trammell .343, etc). Today's low totals feel more like the new norm.

We also haven't seen a qualifying .350 average in a full season since Josh Hamilton in 2010. That's 10 straight years now (the 60 game 2020 season doesn't count). The previous longest stretch in MLB history without a .350 season was exactly half that; 5 seasons from 1962-1966.
   14. bobm Posted: October 18, 2021 at 12:03 PM (#6047151)
[12]

Pete Rose seasons, sorted by OPS+

                                                          
Year    Age   Tm   Lg    G    PA   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
1969     28  CIN   NL  156   731 .348 .428 .512 .940   158
1968     27  CIN   NL  149   692 .335 .391 .470 .861   152
1976     35  CIN   NL  162   759 .323 .404 .450 .854   141
1973     32  CIN   NL  160   752 .338 .401 .437 .838   138
1972     31  CIN   NL  154   731 .307 .382 .417 .799   134
1975     34  CIN   NL  162   764 .317 .406 .432 .838   132
1971     30  CIN   NL  160   709 .304 .373 .421 .793   130
1979     38  PHI   NL  163   732 .331 .418 .430 .848   130
1965     24  CIN   NL  162   757 .312 .382 .446 .828   127
1970     29  CIN   NL  159   730 .316 .385 .470 .855   125
1967     26  CIN   NL  148   650 .301 .364 .444 .808   120
1978     37  CIN   NL  159   731 .302 .362 .421 .783   119
1981     40  PHI   NL  107   486 .325 .391 .390 .781   119
1974     33  CIN   NL  163   771 .284 .385 .388 .773   118
1966     25  CIN   NL  156   701 .313 .351 .460 .811   115
1977     36  CIN   NL  162   732 .311 .377 .432 .809   115
1963     22  CIN   NL  157   696 .273 .334 .371 .705   101
1984     43  TOT   NL  121   421 .286 .359 .337 .696    99
1985     44  CIN   NL  119   501 .264 .395 .319 .713    99
1980     39  PHI   NL  162   739 .282 .352 .354 .706    94
1982     41  PHI   NL  162   720 .271 .345 .338 .683    90
1964     23  CIN   NL  136   558 .269 .319 .326 .645    80
1983     42  PHI   NL  151   555 .245 .316 .286 .602    69
1986     45  CIN   NL   72   272 .219 .316 .270 .586    61


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/18/2021.
   15. Booey Posted: October 18, 2021 at 12:09 PM (#6047153)
Looks like Turner's .328 was the lowest average to lead the majors since 1963 and the third lowest ever:

.325 - Dick Groat 1960
.326 - Tommy Davis 1963
.328 - Trea Turner 2021
   16. JJ1986 Posted: October 18, 2021 at 12:53 PM (#6047161)
ETA: Thanks for correcting me, by the way.
I only knew it because I heard it on the Braves radio broadcast during one of the LCS games. I am often surprised by how little I pay attention to traditional stats now.
   17. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 18, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6047162)
Turner's also the fourth man to win a batting title while playing for two teams, but the first since Harry "the Hat" Walker in 1947.
   18. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 18, 2021 at 01:01 PM (#6047164)
Edit: From the FA, they played 810 games together.


I'm surprised it's not more. Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey became the Dodgers' regular infield halfway through the 1973 season and stayed that way through the end of 1981. That's more than eight full years.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 18, 2021 at 01:05 PM (#6047165)

Turner's also the fourth man to win a batting title while playing for two teams, but the first since Harry "the Hat" Walker in 1947.


Willie McGee in 1990?
   20. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 18, 2021 at 01:11 PM (#6047167)
McGee went from St. Louis to Oakland, and his AL stats didn't count for his NL totals (obviously). So, one could take the position that technically his batting-title-winning was done only while playing for the Cards.
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: October 18, 2021 at 01:40 PM (#6047177)

McGee went from St. Louis to Oakland, and his AL stats didn't count for his NL totals (obviously). So, one could take the position that technically his batting-title-winning was done only while playing for the Cards.


If you were able to include his stats from Oakland, he wouldn't have won the NL batting title (or lead all of baseball, obviously).
   22. AndrewJ Posted: October 18, 2021 at 03:51 PM (#6047214)
Eddie Murray had the highest overall batting average in 1990... and, like the 1981 Cincinnati Reds with the best overall W/L record, had nothin' to show for it.
   23. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 18, 2021 at 04:11 PM (#6047219)
I'm surprised it's not more. Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey became the Dodgers' regular infield halfway through the 1973 season and stayed that way through the end of 1981.
Garvey and Cey were known for their durability, but Lopes missed time in 1976 and 1981, and Russell played only 84 games in 1975.
   24. John DiFool2 Posted: October 18, 2021 at 04:31 PM (#6047228)
Well, the overall league batting average of .244 was the lowest in almost 50 years (1972), and tied for the 3rd lowest of the past 100+ years, so it's not too surprising that the league leaders had pretty unimpressive totals.


Welp, you'd think that there would still be outliers, guys who could avoid the K's and still lace liners to all fields. But the game may be at its most competitive ever, reducing the spread between the best, average, and worst players, so you don't get those outliers anymore (c.f. homers all over the place but nobody hitting 60 anymore, as rare and flukey as that might have been). And everybody basically has been trading singles for homers.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2021 at 05:48 PM (#6047247)
Lineups are in contant flux. This year the Cards had only 10 players reach 200 PA and only another 3 that made it to 100 -- a pretty incredible level of consistency. Still, Edman only 115 starts at 2B, DeJong 100 at SS and O'Neill (129 in LF) and Bader (101 in CF) were the only OFs with >100 starts in one position. Their most common 8 man defensive lineup appeared in only 22 games. Goldschmidt-Edman-Arenado-DeJong only started 58 together (if I counted right) and, even before Sosa mainly replaced DeJong, it was just 49 of 125.

The 69 Cubs were famous for wilting in the summer sun in part because Durocher didn't give anybody much time off. Banks-Beckert-Santo-Kessinger made it to 106 starts together which would have been higher but Beckert missed most of June. As noted, cut that back a bit and Santo and Kessinger started 153 of 163 together (no, not a one-game playoff, tied official game rained out).

For the 78 Dodgers, one of Lopes' healthy seasons, I get 131 starts for the 4 of them. Lopes still managed to miss 2 weeks. The longest stretch I saw was 32 games. Obviously having a Garvey type helps a lot -- still holds the NL record for consecutive games as far as I know. Anyway, somewhere around there is probably the best you can do.

And even with that stable IF, the Dodgers' most common 8-man lineup played together only 30 times ... or I think 50 times if we ignore C ... maybe around 90 if we also ignore CF (where North & Monday both played). In that sense, there's really no such thing as a "regular starting lineup." Most days there's somebody hurt, somebody who needs a day off, somebody who needs some playing time, somebody who can't hit lefties to save his life, somebody who kills lefties.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2021 at 07:40 PM (#6047261)
By the way, this also marked the first non-strike year in which a league-leader in IP didn't get to 200 -- Robbie Ray at 193 for the Jays. Even in 94 and 81, at least one leader made it to 200. Four NL pitchers made it to 200 (Wheeler 213).

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