2003 Houston Astros Baseball Graphs Review

Following are graphs and commentary regarding the 2003 season of the Houston Astros. Questions or comments can be sent to me at dave@baseballgraphs.com.



NL Central Standings The National League Central Race

Houston was in the thick of the race from beginning to end. Unfortunately, they self-destructed in the last week, and the Cubs played superbly in September.

The Astros were also the hard luck team of the league. They had the worst Pythagorean deficit (that is, actual wins vs. wins projected from runs scored and allowed) of any team in the major leagues. And by a good margin. This was partly a result of their inconsistent offense, which we'll see below.





Comments How to Read this Graph

Based on runs scored and allowed, the Astros were right there with the elite teams in the league. If you hold your mouse over the chart, you'll see that they actually somewhat improved their position the second half of the year, primarily due to improved pitching and fielding.

The Astros were a very good batting team, even when correcting for Minute Maid Park (which tends to be a batter's park).

Move your mouse over this graph to view the status of each team at the season's midpoint (July 1st).


Pitching and Fielding

Fielding Independent Pitching is based on the following formula: (13*HR+3*BB-2*K)/IP. Defense Efficiency Ratio is (Non-catcher putouts/Batted Balls in Play), adjusted for ballpark. Circle sizes in this graph are proportional to the percent of fieldable balls successfully converted into outs by the fielders.
The Astros' Pitching and Fielding

The Astros' runs allowed performance was outstanding. Their team DER was better than any other team's by a significant margin. And their team fielding was in the upper half of the league.

Remember that the pitching/FIP stats are not adjusted for ballpark, so the Astros pitching was probably better than indicated on this graph. Leaders included Billy Wagner (-0.43), Dotel (0.18) and Lidge (0.12). What a bullpen. Standout starters included Oswalt (0.52), Miller (0.69) and Redding (0.97).

How to Read this Graph


Houston Astros Ten Game Averages
April May June July Aug Sept
OBP .325 .341 .340 .323 .322 .365
SLG .417 .405 .460 .422 .414 .473
FIP 0.97 0.90 1.09 1.14 0.96 1.23
DER .708 .714 .719 .741 .732 .769
The DER stats in this table are based on limited data; the trend between months per team is more valid than the absolute number.
The Astros Day-by-Day

On a daily basis, the Astros' fortunes rose and fell with their offense. This graph is one of my favorites of 2003, because it shows the cause and effect so clearly. Some of this was due to park effect: the Astros' best offensive streaks tended to come when they played at home.

The other thing that should be said is that the Astros' pitching and fielding were remarkably consistent. At no point in the season, other than perhaps April, did the Astros allow more than the average number of runs scored per game, even when playing at home. Notice how that DER rose steadily throughout the year, to a high in September.

Here's one more curiosity: the Astros always played best in the middle of each month, except April. Their slumps were consistently at the end and beginning of each month. Unfortunately for them, the season did not end in the middle of a month.



Houston Astros' Win Shares

Player          Team    Pos     Hit     Field   Pitch   Sum     WS	
--------	----	----	-----	-----	-----	-----	---	
L Berkman       HOU     OF      21.22   3.61    0.00    24.83   25	
J Bagwell       HOU     1B      20.04   2.01    0.00    22.06   22	
J Kent          HOU     2B      15.71   4.54    0.00    20.25   20	
C Biggio        HOU     OF      14.53   5.45    0.00    19.98   20	
R Hidalgo       HOU     OF      14.54   5.04    0.00    19.58   20	
B Wagner        HOU     P       0.00    0.00    18.73   18.73   19	
M Ensberg       HOU     3B      11.94   3.05    0.00    14.99   15	
O Dotel         HOU     P       0.00    0.00    12.06   12.06   12	
B Ausmus        HOU     C       2.44    9.39    0.00    11.83   12	
A Everett       HOU     SS      5.78    4.94    0.00    10.72   11	
R Oswalt        HOU     P       0.00    0.00    9.91    9.91    10	
T Redding       HOU     P       0.00    0.00    9.65    9.65    10	
W Miller        HOU     P       0.00    0.00    9.21    9.21    9	
B Lidge         HOU     P       0.00    0.00    8.02    8.02    8	
R Stone         HOU     P       0.00    0.00    5.99    5.99    6	
R Villone       HOU     P       0.00    0.00    5.34    5.34    5	
J Robertson     HOU     P       0.00    0.00    5.11    5.11    5	
G Blum          HOU     3B      2.23    2.74    0.00    4.98    5	
J Vizcaino      HOU     SS      2.38    1.27    0.00    3.65    4	
D Miceli        HOU     P       0.00    0.00    3.19    3.19    3	
M Gallo         HOU     P       0.00    0.00    2.68    2.68    3	
O Merced        HOU     OF      1.42    0.81    0.00    2.23    2	
P Munro         HOU     P       0.00    0.00    2.05    2.05    2	
J Fernandez     HOU     P       0.00    0.00    2.01    2.01    2	
K Saarloos      HOU     P       0.00    0.00    1.42    1.42    2	
J Lugo          HOU     SS      0.59    0.72    0.00    1.30    1	
J Lane          HOU     OF      1.14    0.09    0.00    1.23    1	
S Linebrink     HOU     P       0.00    0.00    1.22    1.22    1	
B Hunter        HOU     OF      0.72    0.35    0.00    1.07    1	
R White         HOU     P       0.00    0.00    1.05    1.05    1	
R Rosario       HOU     P       0.00    0.00    1.04    1.04    1	
G Zaun          HOU     C       0.42    0.60    0.00    1.02    1	
E Bruntlett     HOU     SS      0.28    0.43    0.00    0.71    1	
R Chavez        HOU     C       0.06    0.43    0.00    0.49    1	
B Puffer        HOU     P       0.00    0.00    0.37    0.37    0	
N Bland         HOU     P       0.00    0.00    0.31    0.31    0	
C Porter        HOU     OF      0.00    0.24    0.00    0.24    0	
T Cromer        HOU     2B      0.19    0.04    0.00    0.23    0	
D Matranga      HOU     2B      0.17    0.01    0.00    0.18    0	
M Meluskey      HOU     -       0.05    0.00    0.00    0.05    0	
B Chen          HOU     P       0.00    0.00    0.03    0.03    0	
K Bullinger     HOU     P       0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0	
J Johnson       HOU     P       0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0	
B Moehler       HOU     P       0.00    0.00    0.00    0.00    0	

The Astros' Individual Players

The lack of a dominant season from a starter shows, as the top two Astro pitchers were relievers, according to Win Shares.

On offense, no one player dominated at a position; the closest was Berkman, who was sixth among outfielders. But Houston was deep, particularly in the outfield, and a lot of players contributed to the offense.

Win Shares rewards outfielders on team with high DERs, and Biggio and Hidalgo rate highly in outfielding. In fact, Biggio was second in the league, and Hidalgo was fifth.

You can view all National League Win Shares data via the following links:
All Players, Top to Bottom
Players Ranked by Position
Players Fielding WS by Position