History Repeats: May 2005 and April 2014 Astros

Climb down from your ledge, Astros fans. The Astros' team-wide slump is temporary, and it's not even the worst slump in recent history. Jump in the time machine, and let's go!

Stop gnashing your teeth and pulling your hair, Astros fans. This is not Jeff Lunhow's fault, nor is it Bo Porter's fault. This is not Chris Carter's fault. Stop getting angry and defensive when people don't share your righteous anger and your desire to overhaul the roster. Stop calling your friends apologists when they use the word "regression" and when they say that the Astros current hitting slump is not the end of the world.

Because it's not the end of the world.

Thus far, the Astros are hitting a woeful .192/.265/.338, for a 70 wRC+. Briefly, wRC+ is a measure of offensive production that is based on the run expectancy of player-caused events. Here's a matrix that is the foundation for the math. wRC+ is a good way to look at offensive production in a nutshell because it accounts for everything, not just hits and strikeouts. It ignores variance due to defense. A 100 wRC+ is an average offense. Lower is worse, higher is better.

The Astros' current 70 wRC+ is BAD. Horrible. Awful. But it won't stay that way. Regression.

Join me in the wayback machine, and let's go back to May 2005. The Astros eventually will wind up in their first World Series in franchise history, but they didn't know that, and neither did the fans. That May, the Astros had an awful offense. As awful as it is now, in fact -- as a team, the 2005 Astros had a 70 wRC+ that month. Here are some tidbits from May 2005:

  • The Astros' team slash line was .230/.290/.365. That's so bad that it doesn't matter that it was marginally better than the 2014 Astros' April.
  • Morgan Ensberg and Craig Biggio were the only Astros' hitters who didn't suck. Without those guys, the 2005 Astros hit .212/.264/.304...worse than the 2014 Astros.
  • Lance Berkman hit .234/.337/.325, for a 75 wRC+
  • Willy Taveras hit .238/.273/.295 for a 49 wRC+
  • Adam Everett hit .213/.242/.415 for a 65 wRC+
  • Mike Lamb hit .185/.216/.326 for a 35 wRC+
  • Jason Lane hit .118/.189/.176 for a NEGATIVE FIVE wRC+ (Oh my goodness)
  • Jose Vizcaino hit .216/.273/.314 for a 53 wRC+
  • Raul Chavez hit .135/.158/.162 for a NEGATIVE TWENTY THREE wRC+
  • Jeff Bagwell hit .167/.333/.167 for a 31 wRC+
At the end of 50 games, the Astros were fifteen games out of first place, and boasted an 18-32 record, for a .360 winning percentage. You know the rest of the story. They won the National League that year.

Here's my point: Get off the ledge; the 2014 Astros are not going to continue hitting this poorly. A virus ravaged the clubhouse in early April, and they are just recovering. They're (obviously) in a team-wide slump, which happens sometimes.

Guys, Jason Castro is not a .200 hitter. Neither are Jonathan Villar, Carlos Corporan, Dexter Fowler, Jesus Guzman, LJ Hoes, Matt Dominguez, Marc Krauss, or Chris Carter. They just aren't. Carter won't have zero home runs after hitting 29 last season. George Springer will take walks. As I've pointed out elsewhere, the Astros' team BABIP of .230 would be the lowest in recorded history if it held out all season. It won't. It will end up around .290, and the runs will come up with it.

Please.

I beg you.

Stop reacting.

Stop the outrage.

Stop the blame-throwing.

The Astros suck right now. But everything indicates that what we are seeing is only one of the most absurd slumps of the past decade. Slumps are temporary, they does not reflect the talent level of the team, nor do they predict future performance.

Just ask the 2005 Astros.


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