The 2017 Houston Astros did something very rare en route to being World Champions. The 2018 Astros have chance to be special as well, but there’s one category that doesn’t figure to be the same.
As we will all remember for the rest of our days, the Houston Astros became World Champions this past year. This was a day, and year, that will go down as one of the best in Houston sports history. Astros fans who stayed true during the tank years finally got rewarded.
A number of things stuck out about that championship team. One of the chief stats about the season was Astros batters swatting the second most home runs in the league. Usually, in this new home run era more home runs comes with more strikeouts. However, the Astros flipped the script on this narrative and managed to have the fewest strikeouts in the league.
In 2017, we got to see 238 home runs and only 1087 strikeouts. So, the Astros averaged only 6.7 strikeouts a game. However, 2018 as painted a different picture. Through 16 games the Astros have combined for 148 strikeouts. That is 9.25 per game. To put that into perspective, through 16 games in 2017 they had 104 strikeouts. That is 6.5 strikeouts per game. That’s an increase of over three per game, which is a huge jump. George Springer is one of the chief culprit with 17 strikeouts. Evan Gattis is with him at 17 and Jake Marisnick leads the pack at 18.
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Is it time to panic? No.
Can the Houston Astros still repeat? Absolutely.
This drastic change in numbers could point to a variety of things. The weather could be to blame. It’s been unusually cold during the first weeks of the season. There been a ton of games postponed, there were 6 on April 15th, including a double header for a game already postponed. These numbers simply could be a regression to the mean. The Houston Astros had the most strikeouts in 2016 and the least in 2017. 2018 might come somewhere in between.
However, I think 2017 was the outlier. It was a fluke year. Does this make me less of a fan? Nope. It’s a bummer to think that the Astros couldn’t repeat exactly what they did last year.
2017 was a special year, no doubt. This stat helps prove that. Even though the strikeout numbers are up and the Astros aren’t destroying everyone every game, 2018 figures to also be a special year, albeit in different ways. These 2018 Astros are still the tops in the league and are still the team to beat. 2017 was just a fluke in regards to the high home runs accompanied with the lowest strikeouts.