Expansion Era Minor League All-Star Rosters – Colt .45’s / Astros
Founded on my research for the “Minors vs Majors” chapter in my book, “Hardball Retroactive” paired with complementary articles “Minors vs. Majors: The Top Minor League Batters in the Expansion Era” and “Minors vs. Majors: The Top Minor League Pitchers in the Expansion Era“, the ensuing series will reveal the Minor League All-Star rosters for every MLB franchise based primarily on single-season statistics in Runs Created / 140 Games (batters) and Fielding Independent Pitching (pitchers).
- individual seasons in the Expansion Era (1961 – 2017)
- levels A through AAA
- ages 24 or younger (A and A+)
- age 25 seasons (AA and AAA)
- age 26 seasons (AAA)
RC – Runs Created – using the basic formula devised by Bill James:
((H + BB) * TB) / (AB + BB)
Note: I utilized the basic formula as opposed to the Technical Version due to
incomplete GIDP and IBB data.
RC/140 – Runs Created per 140 Games as Minor League ballplayers
RC / (G / 140)
FIP – Fielding Independent Pitching – “Fielding Independent Pitching converts a pitcher’s three true outcomes into an earned run average-like number. The formula is (13*HR+3*(HBP+BB)-2*K)/IP, plus a constant (usually around 3.2) to put it on the same scale as earned run average.
FIP is a component ERA inspired by the work of Voros McCracken on defense-independent pitching statistics, but has become more widely used because of the ease of computation – it requires only four easily-found box score stats, uses only basic arithmetic operations and has four easily-memorized constants. It was conceived of by both Tom Tango and Clay Dreslough, the latter of who called it Defense-Independent Component ERA.” (definition courtesy of Baseball Prospectus Glossary).
The Houston Colt .45’s / Astros
Jose Altuve compiled the highest RC/140 among qualifiers for the Houston franchise when he batted at a .389 clip and slugged .591 over a half-season with Lancaster (A+) and Corpus Christi (AA) in 2011. The 2017 AL MVP, six-time All-Star second baseman and three-time batting champion led the Junior Circuit with 200+ base knocks in 4 straight seasons (2014-17). A.J. Reed clobbered 34 blasts, drove in 127 baserunners and registered 113 tallies while hitting .340 and slugging .612 across two minor league stops in 2015. Jason Lane swatted 26 big-flies and 34 two-base knocks with the ‘Stros in his first full big-league campaign (2005), four years after slashing .316/.407/.608 against Texas League pitching. Alex Bregman (#1, 2015) breezed through the upper minors as he batted .306 and slugged .580 SLG prior to making his Major League debut in July 2016. “A-Breg” topped the century mark in runs and RBI, led the circuit with 51 doubles and finished fifth in the 2018 AL MVP race. Morgan Ensberg clouted 23 four-baggers and recorded a .310 BA for the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA) in 2001. He subsequently established career-highs in home runs (36), RBI (101) and SLG (.557) to merit his lone All-Star invitation in ’05. Danny Heep totaled 13 big-league seasons as a pinch-hitter and backup outfielder for 5 organizations after tearing up the Pacific Coast League in 1980 with a .343 BA and a .580 SLG. Four-time All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence mashed 25 taters for the ‘Stros in three successive seasons (2008-2010). “Captain Underpants” slammed 31 round-trippers and supplied a .327 BA as a member of the Lexington Legends (A) and the Salem Avalanche (A+) in 2005. George Springer (#1, 2011) pummeled opposition hurlers in the Texas and Pacific Coast Leagues throughout the 2013 season, crushing 37 circuit clouts and swiping 45 bags while slugging .600. Tallying 100+ runs in three straight years (2016-18), the 3-time All-Star outfielder blasted a career-high 34 homers in 2017.
Roy Oswalt triumphed in 15 of 22 decisions and fashioned an ERA of 2.21 as he split the 2000 campaign between Kissimmee (A+) and Round Rock (AA). The “Wizard of Os” placed runner-up in the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year balloting and finished among the top 5 vote-getters in the NL Cy Young voting five times in six years (2001-06). Don Wilson compiled 104 wins along with a 3.15 ERA in his 9 seasons with the Astros. In his age-20 season for Cocoa (A), Wilson registered 10 victories with a 1.44 ERA and a 0.983 WHIP. Joe Sambito pitched almost exclusively in relief through 11 MLB seasons after tallying 11 wins and completing 12 of 23 starts for Cedar Rapids (A) in ’74.
|Brian L. Hunter||23||1994||TUC||AAA||OF||125.6||0.372||10||51||0.432||0.520|
Lance Berkman (#1, 1997) merited 6 All-Star nominations and placed third in the NL MVP balloting twice in 15 MLB seasons including a dozen with the ‘Stros. “Big Puma” delivered 37 doubles, 33 dingers, 110 ribbies, 101 runs and 102 bases on balls annually over an eight-year span (2001-08). One year prior to ascending to the Majors, Berkman mirrored his future output with 38 two-baggers, 30 blasts and 102 RBI as a member of the Jackson Generals (AA) and the New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA). Johnny Ray blistered PCL pitching for a .349 BA along with 50 two-base hits and 111 tallies in ’81. Shipped to the Bucs in a deal for Phil Garner in August 1981, the switch-hitting second-sacker placed runner-up in the 1982 NL Rookie of the Year race and later led the Senior Circuit with 38 doubles in back-to-back campaigns (1983-84). Cliff Johnson (.302/33/117) walloped 20+ bombs four times through his 15-year big-league career subsequent to scalding the baseball as a member of the Denver Bears (AAA) in ’73. Following his release by Houston in March 2014, J.D. Martinez supplied a .307 BA with 32 doubles, 34 jacks and 96 RBI per year. “Flaco” jumped to the Majors in July 2011 after slashing .338/.414/.546 for the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA). Joe L. Morgan coaxed 105 walks, pilfered 47 bases, scored 113 runs and hit .323 with 42 doubles as a 20-year-old playing for the San Antonio Missions (AA) in ’64. “The Little General” finished second in the 1965 NL Rookie of the Year race, warranted 10 invites to the Mid-Summer Classic and notched back-to-back NL MVP Awards (1975-76). Shane Reynolds fashioned a 3.66 ERA and averaged 200 innings annually over a six-year span (1994-99) which mimicked his results for the Tucson Toros (AAA) in ’93.
References and Resources
Bill James Baseball Abstract
About the Author
I am a New Jersey native with a passion for baseball, statistics, computers and video games who enjoys spending quality time with his family.
“Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.
Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.
“Hardball Retrospective – Addendum 2014 to 2016” supplements my research for Hardball Retrospective, providing retroactive standings based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and Win Shares (WS) for each “original” team over the past three seasons (2014-2016). Team totals from 2010 – 2013 are included for reference purposes. “Addendum” is available in paperback and digital formats through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace.