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Cashman takes a swing at the ‘Stros

Taking a look at the Yankee / Astros performances

New York Yankees Spring Training Photo by J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

If you haven’t seen it yet, Brian Cashman took some swings at the Astros, claiming that the Yankees play-off drought should have an Asterisk due to the cheating of the Houston Astros.

To me, Cashman being bitter and taking the swing at the Astros wasn’t all that surprising, although the timing feels more than convenient with the Yankees sign stealing letter due to be released in about a week.

The comment that was most interesting to me, is saying that he felt “pretty confident that that team [the Astros] wasn’t stopping us, if it wasn’t for those advantages.”

That comment is surprising, as the Astros have not only been a far better team in recent years (both before and after the cheating scandal). And while 2017 was when Luhnow’s plan really seemed to become mainstream and everyone took notice of the Astros, it wasn’t like the Yankees really looked superior in recent times.

In 2015:

Yankees - 87-75

Astros - 86-76

Results: Astros absolutely dominated the Yankees in Yankee stadium. Keuchel shutting the Yankees down and securing the 3-0 win. Knocking the Yankees out, ultimately losing out to the Royals on a soul crushing bad hop/play to Correa.

Video from EXE-Edits

In 2016:

Yankees - 84-78

Astros - 84-78

Results: Both teams had disappointing seasons.

In 2017:

Yankees - 91-71

Astros - 101-61

Results: Astros win 4 of the 7 games in the ALCS knocking the Yankees out. It’s of note that the Yankees scored a grand total of 3 runs across 4 games at Minute Maid Park. Even if he somehow believed that the Astros offense would not have produced the same without the cheating, the grand total of 3 runs across 4 games all but guaranteed their loss in the World Series regardless.

Video from EXE-Edits

In 2018:

Yankees - 100-62

Astros - 103-59

Results: Unfortunately, the Yankees got knocked out before coming up against the Astros. The Astros went on to lose to the eventual World Series winning Red Sox in the ALCS.

In 2019:

Yankees - 103-59

Astros - 107-55

Results: Once again, the Yankees and Astros met up in the ALCS. This time, the Astros took 2 home and 2 away games, taking the series 4-2.

Video from EXE-Edits

In 2020:

Yankees - 33-27

Astros - 29-31

Results: Both teams fell short of expectations, and the Astros shouldn’t have even been in the play-offs with a losing record, but 2020’s weird COVID season and expanded play-offs resulted in the Astros falling to the Rays in a 4-3 series of the ALCS. Unfortunately, the Yankees were knocked out before meeting the Astros in the playoffs.

In 2021:

Yankees - 92-70

Astros - 95-67

Results: Unfortunately, the Yankees stumbled out of the play-offs losing to the Boston Red Sox in the Wildcard. The Astros series directly followed against the same Red Sox, with the Astros taking the series 4-2.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking anything away from the Yankees. They have an incredibly talented team. And while they still sport a top payroll in the league, they’re no longer spending light years more than the rest of the league with the Mets and Dodgers regularly blowing past them.

Cashman’s commentary may have made sense when the news first broke, but we’ve watched the Astros continue to dominate.

I understand there’s a lot of disagreement of how long the Astros cheated for or how much of an impact it had on the results.

If you think the Astros stopped after 2017: the Astros have the best offense in baseball from 2018-present (115 wRC+)

Think it continued into 2018? From 2019-Present, they’re still #1 (117 wRC+)

Must be after the news broke and their down 2020 season? From 2020-Present they still ranked as #1 with a 111 wRC+.

The Astros have been one of the best teams in baseball. And while none of the above makes what the Astros did okay, Cashman’s comments look fairly ridiculous especially given the timing.

Regardless, it’s been nice to take a moment to re-live these moments of Yankees domination. Luhnow and Crane have given us an incredible era of baseball. The Astros legitimized analytics, Strom pushed Effective Velocity and revolutionized modern pitching approaches across baseball, were on the frontiers of technology (such as Raspodo, Edgetronic, K-Vests, 4D Motion, etc.)

And the best part? Fangraphs currently projects us to a 90.2 win - 71.8 Loss record with an 84.2% chance of making the play offs and top 5 chance of winning the World Series.