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Advanced Data on the Astros Cheating. How often. Main culprits. What effect.

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Tony Adams watched video of almost every Astros home game and counted the trash can bangs. Here’s the data.

MLB: World Series-Washington Nationals at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The following is data compiled Tony Adams, derived from watching videos of Astros home games in 2017. He counted all the times trash cans were banged, and compiled the data in a series of Twitter feeds seen below.

Check THIS LINK to see how many bangs there were in each Astros home game as well as the score in each game.

TCB Commentary and analysis:

  1. Astros trashcan banging was rare until May 28th. Split data before and after this date could give some indication as to the effectiveness of the signal stealing. By my own mechanical calculations the Astros averaged 4.24 runs per home game before May 28th, and 5.32 runs from May 28th on. Before May 28th the home wRC+ was 112. After it was 126 despite key injuries to Carlos Correa and George Springer.
  2. The biggest cheaters were, in order by % of bangs: Jake Marisnick, Marwin Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran, Yuli Gurriel, Evan Gattis, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, George Springer. I invite commenters to examine their pre/post May 28 home stats using the Fangraphs splits tool. I did look at Marwin Gonzalez and found he did much better before May 28, hitting .313 with 10 homers compared to .269 with 5 homers after May 28th.
  3. Two players seemed to have not participated in the cheating, or at least very minimally. i. e. Jose Altuve and Josh Reddick. Altuve only heard 2.8% of bangs on the total pitches he received, and Reddick 3.9%

Is the 2017 MVP absolved of cheating? Whereas the most culpable cheaters were getting banging signals on between 15 to 19 percent of pitches, Altuve was getting them on only about 3 percent. To be that much less, it had to have been at his direction. Is it possible that even those few he did receive were against his will? We’ll never know, but cheating probably had little impact on Altuve’s overall statistics.

Critics will respond, you can’t be just a little bit of a cheater, any more than you can be a little bit pregnant. And others might say that as the team leader and longest tenured player, he could have, along with Manager A.J. Hinch, taken a stronger stand against the cancerous culture that had overtaken the clubhouse.

But apparently other leaders, like Carlos Beltran and Assistant Manager Alex Cora, had more influence on the rest of the team than Altuve and Hinch. There’s an old saying: Evil travels with the wind. Truth must fly against the wind.