Over the course of the month, LWOSports will be breaking down the top five MLB players in franchise history for all 30 teams. This article will rank the top five Houston Astros players in franchise history least to best by who had the biggest impact for the team. You can check out the other series articles here.
The Houston Astros came into existence for the 1962 season. They did not make their first playoff appearance until the 1980 season, where they lost in the NLCS to the Philadelphia Phillies. In total, the Astros have made just 12 playoff appearances, with three of those coming in the last four years. Obviously, that includes a World Series title during the 2017 season. The 1997 to 2005 season was certainly the most successful timeframe in team history thus far. In fact, they made six playoff appearances along with a World Series loss in 2005. This organization has put out several great players over the years, despite the lack of playoff success at times. With that being said, here are the top five Houston Astros players in franchise history.
Top Five Houston Astros Players
5. Nolan Ryan
Certainly, the great Nolan Ryan is likely to show up on a couple of these lists. Ryan spent nine of his 27 total seasons with the Houston Astros franchise. During his time, he threw 38 complete games along with 13 shutouts. He led MLB in ERA twice while in Houston, including a 1.69 ERA in 1981. Ryan led the league again in 1987, finishing with a 2.76 ERA while striking out a league-leading 270 batters as well. In three of the complete games that Ryan threw for Houston, he walked zero batters. Additionally, he threw one of his seven career no-hitters as a member of the Astros in 1981 against the Dodgers. Nolan Ryan comes in fifth on the top five Houston Astros players in franchise history.
Accolades in Houston: Two-time All-Star, two ERA titles.
Stats with the Astros: 106-94 record, 3.13 earned run average, 1.206 WHIP, 1,866 strikeouts, 796 walks, 38 complete games, 13 shutouts, one no-hitter.
Franchise ranks: 4th in WAR for pitchers, 6th in ERA, 6th in wins, 12th WHIP, 2nd in strikeouts per nine innings, 13th in games pitched, 1st in strikeouts, t-8th in complete games, 7th in shutouts, 20th in strikeout/walk ratio, 10th in win probability added for pitchers.
4. Cesar Cedeno
Cesar Cedeno comes in at number four on the top five Houston Astros players in franchise history. His combination of great defense along with solid overall hitting during his 12 years in Houston places him here. Additionally, his speed allowed for him to be a threat on the basepaths as evidenced by his stolen base numbers. Cedeno won five straight Gold Gloves from 1972-1976 as well as four All-Star games during that time span. Also, Cedeno impressively led the league in doubles twice during his time in Houston.
Accolades in Houston: Four-time All-Star, five Gold Gloves
Stats with the Astros: .289 batting average, .351 on-base percentage, .454 slugging percentage, .805 OPS, 890 runs scored, 1,659 hits, 343 doubles, 55 triples, 163 home runs, 778 runs batted in, 487 stolen bases, 534 walks, 735 strikeouts
Franchise ranks: 4th in WAR, 4th in offensive WAR, 9th in batting average, 19th in on-base percentage, 15th in slugging percentage, 15th in OPS, 6th most games played, 4th in run scored, 4th in hits, 5th in total bases, 4th in doubles, t-5th in triples, 6th in home runs, 6th in runs batted in, 8th in walks, 1st in stolen bases, 5th in runs created, 3rd in power-speed number, 3rd in win probability added
3. Roy Oswalt
Coming in at number three on the top five Houston Astros players in franchise history is Roy Oswalt. Certainly, the Astros franchise has been blessed with several great pitchers. However, Oswalt put together a great overall 10 years in Houston, putting him first. Surprisingly, he was only a three-time All-Star during his tenure. In 2004 and 2005, Oswalt won 20 games while finishing in the top four of the Cy Young voting both years. In 2001, Oswalt finished second in the rookie of the year voting after going 14-3 with a 2.73 ERA. Additionally, Oswalt struck out over 200 batters twice during his days in Houston.
Accolades in Houston: Three-time All-Star, one ERA titles.
Stats with the Astros: 143-82 record, 3.24 earned run average, 1.196 WHIP, 1,593 strikeouts, 446 walks, 19 complete games, seven shutouts.
Franchise ranks: 1st in WAR for pitchers, 12th in ERA, 2nd in wins, 3rd in win/loss percentage, 10th in WHIP, 9th in strikeouts per nine innings, 9th in games pitched, 2nd in strikeouts, t-18th in complete games, 13th in shutouts, 3rd in strikeout/walk ratio, 1st in win probability added for pitchers.
2. Craig Biggio
Craig Biggio is a Houston Astro through and through as evidenced by spending the entirety of his 20-year career with the team. Biggio was the definition of versatility playing multiple positions, catcher, outfield and second base, all extremely well. Biggio led the league in runs scored two times, doubles three times along with steals once. Also, he led in hit batsmen a whopping five times, showing his toughness. Additionally, Biggio also won four Gold Gloves during his time. The 3,000 hit club member was an amazing all-around player and could be heavily considered at number one. Craig Biggio comes in second on the top five Houston Astros players in franchise history.
Accolades in Houston: Hall of Fame, seven-time All-Star, four Gold Gloves, five Silver Slugger Awards.
Stats with the Astros: .281 batting average, .363 on-base percentage, .433 slugging percentage, .796 OPS, 1,844 runs scored, 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 55 triples, 291 home runs, 1,175 runs batted in, 414 stolen bases, 1,160 walks, 1,753 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 2nd in WAR, 1st in offensive WAR, t-16th in batting average, 11th in on-base percentage, 19th in slugging percentage, 16th in OPS, 1st in games played, 1st in runs scored, 1st in hits, 1st in total bases, 1st in doubles, t-5th in triples, 3rd in home runs, 2nd in runs batted in, 2nd in walks, 2nd in stolen bases, 1st in runs created, 1st in power-speed number, 4th in win probability added.
1. Jeff Bagwell
Placing first on the top five Houston Astros players in franchise history is none other than Jeff Bagwell. Certainly, Bagwell, who played all 15 of his seasons in Houston, is the greatest all-around hitter to play for the Astros. However, his speed and defensive ability should not be overlooked by any means. His 1994 season was shaping up to be one of the best seasons in MLB history until the strike cut it short, unfortunately. Bagwell’s only MVP would come that year after hitting .368 with 39 home runs along with 116 runs batted in. Amazing, he did that while playing just 110 games. Additionally, he led the league in runs scored, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases that year. In 1999 Bagwell led the league with a whopping 143 runs scored while also walking a league-leading 149 times. Let the numbers speak for themselves from here!
Accolades in Houston: Hall of Fame, 1994 MVP, 1991 Rookie of the Year, four-time All-Star, one Gold Glove, three Silver Slugger Awards.
Stats with the Astros: .297 batting average, .408 on-base percentage, .540 slugging percentage, .948 OPS, 1,517 runs scored, 2,314 hits, 488 doubles, 32 triples, 449 home runs, 1,529 runs batted in, 202 stolen bases, 1,401 walks, 1,558 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 1st in WAR, 2nd in offensive WAR, 3rd in batting average, 2nd in on-base percentage, 3rd in slugging percentage, 3rd in OPS, 2nd in games played, 2nd in runs scored, 2nd in hits, 2nd in total bases, 2nd in doubles, t-11th in triples, 1st in home runs, 1st in runs batted in, 1st in walks, 7th in stolen bases, 2nd in runs created, 2nd in power-speed number, 1st in win probability added.
There you have it, the top five Houston Astros players in franchise history. Currently, players like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and Alex Bregman are pushing to appear on this list. However, the five players listed could match up with most any other franchise across baseball.
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