Astros: Can someone remind the haters that 2019 happened?


    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 17: Carlos Correa #1 and George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros celebrate an 8-3 win of game four of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

    You’d think that the Houston Astros won the World Series last year and were summarily being hassled by opposing fans and Joe Kelly because of reports that they cheated in the 2019 World Series. You’d be wrong, although when it comes to this hatred towards the Astros, it’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about being loud and repetitive.

    The buzzer theory still lives, the vitriol still lives, the narrative that the Dodgers on the 2017 World Series still lives. It’s truly incredible that at least two of those haven’t died down yet, but fans are antsy and they need someone to take out their angst on.

    The thing is, what all of those theories fail to take into account is 2019. Even assuming that the Astros scandal changed their fate and altered the course of baseball history—which is didn’t—this discretization of the Astros as a team is completely unfounded because of one simple factor—2019. Also known as the year where the Astros still go to the World Series without help, thus vindicating that 2017 was earned.

    George Springer had his best year last year. 39 home runs, slugging higher than ever before, a WAR of 6.5? Looking eerily similar to 2017 when he was apparently only valuable because of a trash can.

    Springer has always been this good. Furthering the much more plausible theory that cheating actually didn’t help that much.

    Jose Altuve hit more home runs last year than ever before. He had RBIs to match 2017, just like Springer. And that was with 90 fewer plate appearances than in 2019. And he’s on another Altuve-esque streak here in 2020, but don’t try to explain that to a buzzer theorist. Save your time.

    Alex Bregman? He had his best year last year too. Are we seeing a trend here? This team was largely better in 2019—statistically speaking—than they were in 2017. So what exactly is the lingering line of thought here? Were they cheating in 2019 too and Manfred just completely ignored it? Sounds like him, to skirt punishment, right?

    Or maybe, just maybe, this team are actually just a really good team and the holier-than-thou Dodgers and Yankees don’t like having their coastal bias put under siege by a team they don’t understand.

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