On the Astros: Milestone watch for Houston's hitters

Bob Levey

Which hitting milestones are the Astros close to this season?

Numbers never lie. Well, that's not true. They lie all the time, according to non-statheads. But, baseball has always been tied up in numbers, even if they're not fancy ones like WAR or wRC+.

Given that, let's take a quick stroll around Houston's lineup to see if any hitters are close to hitting milestone this year and which ones they might get to.

Jason Castro numbers

Houston's catcher has 15 home runs and has totaled 3.3 fWAR. Both the ZiPS and Steamer projections for the rest of the season show him totaling just under 4.0 fWAR. If he can get to that magical plateau, it'd be the first time an Astros player was there since 2010, when Michael Bourn had 4.3 fWAR.

Currently, Castro is on pace for 17 home runs this year. He hit 11 in the first three months of the season, but only has four since then. That's a span of 37 games and 139 plate appearances, meaning he's hit a home run in about 2.8 percent of his plate appearances since the beginning of July.

Let's assume Castro has about 100 plate appearances left this season, since he's at 59 for this month and has averaged about 80 per month this year. At his current home run rate, he'd hit about three more bombs before the end fo the season, giving him 18 on the year.

That's significant, because it would top John Bateman for the most home runs by an Astros catcher in team history.

Matty D numbers

Houston's third baseman has had a great year from power production. He's currently sitting at 17 home runs and both projection systems see him hitting four more home runs by the end of the year for 21 total.

If he can do that, he'd join Chris Carter with at least 20 home runs. The last Astros team to feature two 20-homer hitters was 2010, when Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence both topped the milestone. The last time Houston had three 20-homer guys was in 2009, when Lee, Pence and Berkman got there.

If Dominguez gets to 20 homers, he'd be the first Astros third baseman to get there since Ty Wigginton hit 23 in 2008. Of course, Wigginton only played half that season for the Astros, meaning the last full-time Astros third baseman to hit 20 or more homers in a season was Morgan Ensberg in 2006.

Chris Carter's numbers

Two things to track with Carter. First, his home runs. Currently sitting at 23 homers, Carter has an outside chance at getting to 30 homers this season. The projections systems are split, with ZiPS marking him down with 29 and Steamer going with 30.

On the other hand, Carter is on pace for 210 strikeouts this season. That would not set an all-time record for baseball, as Mark Reynolds holds that distinction with 223 strikeouts in 2009. But, there have only been four seasons of 200 strikeouts or more in MLB history and three of those belong to Reynolds.

Carter has already set the Astros season record for strikeouts, as Lee May was the previous record-holder with 145 strikeouts in 1972.

Home runs, period

As a team, Houston has hit 123 home runs in 126 games. The Astros already have more home runs than they hit in either 2011 or 2010.

If the Astros keep up the pace of this season, hitting almost a home run per game, they'd finish with 35 more homers by the end of the season. That would give them 158 for the year, the most they've had in a single season since 2008 and 12 more than they hit last season.

That's less than the 175 homers Houston was projected to hit at the beginning of the season, but still puts them comfortably in the middle of the pack in MLB in home runs.

Next week, we'll check in on the pitching milestones (if there's any) that Houston might be nearing.

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