June 26, 2022

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The top 10 hitters in Houston Astros franchise history, ranked

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Putting together a list of the Houston Astros’ all-time best hitters is a tough task, because it’s hard to compare guys like Jimmy Wynn and Jose Cruz, who played most of their careers in the cavernous Astrodome, to the more recent vintage of hitters who have played in the much more hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park.

Those Astros teams created inside the Dome were built on speed and pitching, while these current Astros – who have experienced much more success, by the way – rely more on the home run.

The top of the list is pretty easy to figure. Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio – you can fight over the order of those top two yourselves – are the only two full-time Astros to ever make it into the Hall of Fame. From there, it gets much tougher.

Should Glenn Davis be on the list? He’s sixth all-time in franchise history with 166 home runs – and that’s with playing in the Astrodome – but he also was a career .262 hitter in Houston. And, what do you do with guys who played here just a short time? Moises Alou was an Astro for just three seasons, but what a stretch it was. He still has the franchise’s best career average (.331) and slugging percentage (.585)

There’s no doubt that Carlos Correa is an all-time great Astros player, but he probably didn’t quite do enough at the plate in his seven seasons to make it on this list of pure hitters. (We didn’t factor in his glove and arm, which is probably the best Astros fans have ever seen).

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Then, there’s the guys still putting up numbers. If this list went to No. 11 or No. 12, it probably would include Alex Bregman, who just needs a couple more seasons before he starts cracking some of the franchise’s all-time Top 10 statistical lists and earns his way onto anyone’s ranking of Astros.

Here are our ranking of the 10 best hitters in Astros franchise history …

10. Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan, Houston Astros.

Joe Morgan, Houston Astros.

Morgan might be the best player to ever wear an Astros uniform, but he had most of his great seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, where he won two MVPs and made seven All-Star teams. Still, in his 10 seasons with the Astros, he made two All-Star teams and did enough to rank eighth all-time in Offensive WAR at 34.5. His .374 on-base percentage also is seventh-best in franchise history and his 63 triples are second.

9. Bob Watson

Bob Watson #27 of the Houston Astros bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during an Major League Baseball game circa 1978 at Veteran Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Watson played for the Astros from 1966-79.

Bob Watson #27 of the Houston Astros bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during an Major League Baseball game circa 1978 at Veteran Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Watson played for the Astros from 1966-79.

Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Technically, Watson played 14 seasons with the Astros, but that includes just nine seasons in which he played at least 50 games. Despite that, he still ranks fifth on the team’s all-time RBI list with 782 and has the third-highest career batting average (.297) in franchise history behind just Moises Alou and Jose Altuve. He’s also seventh in career hits (1,448) and doubles (241) and ninth in home runs (139) and Offensive WAR (29.1).

8. George Springer

Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) hits a solo home run in the third inning of Game 6 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in Los Angeles. ( Michael Ciaglo / Houston Chronicle )
Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) hits a solo home run in the third inning of Game 6 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in Los Angeles. ( Michael Ciaglo / Houston Chronicle )Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle

Springer played just seven seasons in Houston before leaving for Toronto as a free agent after the 2020 season. Still, he’ll always be remembered for his five home runs in the 2017 World Series when he was named series MVP as the team won its first championship in franchise history. He’s also fifth on the franchise’s all-time home runs list (174) and sixth in slugging percentage (.491) and OPS (.852).

7. Jose Cruz

Jose Cruz of the Houstons Astros circa 1983 bats against the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Jose Cruz of the Houstons Astros circa 1983 bats against the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images

All 13 seasons of Cruz’s Astros career were played in the cavernous Astrodome, but he still managed to put up three seasons where he ended up in the Top 10 in MVP voting, including a third-place finish in 1980 when he helped the Astros to their first postseason appearance when he hit .302 with 29 doubles, 91 RBIs and 36 stolen bases. He finished sixth in MVP voting in 1983 when he led the National League with 189 hits. Cruz is third in franchise history in hits behind Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, with 1,937, first in triples (80) and fourth in RBI (942).

6. Jimmy Wynn

Jimmy Wynn, better known as the "Toy Cannon" to Astros fans, made his major-league debut July 10, 1963 at Colt Stadium.

Jimmy Wynn, better known as the “Toy Cannon” to Astros fans, made his major-league debut July 10, 1963 at Colt Stadium.

Louis Requena/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The 160-pound Wynn, aptly nicknamed the “Toy Cannon”, debuted with the Colt .45s in 1963 and had the misfortune of playing in the Astrodome for most of his 11 seasons in Houston. Even playing in that pitcher-friendly environment, Wynn still managed to his 37 homers in 1967 and 33 in 1969. His 223 career home runs ranks fourth on the franchise’s all-time list behind Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman and Craig Biggio. His 45.7 Offensive WAR is fifth in team history behind just Biggio, Bagwell, Berkman and Cesar Cedeño. 

5. Cesar Cedeño

Houston Astros' 20-year-old outfielder Cesar Cedeno at the Astrodome in baseball uniform.

Houston Astros’ 20-year-old outfielder Cesar Cedeno at the Astrodome in baseball uniform.

Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

When he made his Astros debut at 19 years old in 1970, he was hailed as the next Willie Mays. While he couldn’t possibly live up to those expectations, he was a four-time All-Star in his 12 seasons in Houston and finished in the franchise’s Top 5 for career hits (1,659), doubles (343), runs (890) and Offensive WAR, where his 48.2 is fourth behind only Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman.

4. Lance Berkman

Houston Astros Lance Berkman hits a three-run home run off St. Louis Cardinals Chris Carpenter during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series Monday, Oct. 17, 2005, at Minute Maid Park in Houston. (Photo by Steve Ueckert/Houston Chronicle)
Houston Astros Lance Berkman hits a three-run home run off St. Louis Cardinals Chris Carpenter during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series Monday, Oct. 17, 2005, at Minute Maid Park in Houston. (Photo by Steve Ueckert/Houston Chronicle)STEVE UECKERT/STAFF

Berkman is the only Astros player to finish in the Top 5 in MVP voting in four different seasons in Houston. After 13 seasons with the Astros, he ranks third on several of the franchise’s all-time statistical lists behind Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, including RBI (1,090), doubles (375), extra-base hits (727), total bases (3,053) and Offensive WAR (48.6). He’s also second in home runs (326) and OPS (.959) and fifth in batting average (.296). 

3. Jose Altuve

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) hits a home run in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Houston. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) hits a home run in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Houston. ( Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle )

Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

Even though he’s just 32 years old, Altuve already has his name all over the franchise’s career leaderboard. He ranks in the Top 10 all-time in most Astros’ offensive categories including second in batting average (.307), fourth in hits (1,782), fifth in doubles (340), seventh in home runs (165), eighth in RBIs (642), fifth in total bases (2,675) fifth in runs scored (885), ninth in OPS (.820) and sixth in offensive WAR (45.0). He’s also just the second player in franchise history – alongside Jeff Bagwell – to be named league MVP. He also was the only Astro – before Yuli Gurriel did it in 2021 – to ever win a league batting title, doing it three times (2014, 2016, 2017).

2. Craig Biggio

Houston Astros Craig Biggio slaps the 3,000th hit of his career off Colorado Rockies starter Aaron Cook during the seventh inning Thursday, June 28, 2007, at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Houston Astros Craig Biggio slaps the 3,000th hit of his career off Colorado Rockies starter Aaron Cook during the seventh inning Thursday, June 28, 2007, at Minute Maid Park in Houston.Brett Coomer

If you look at the Astros’ all-time leaders, Biggio is atop most offensive lists including hits (3,060), doubles (668) and total bases (4,711), which is why he was the first full-time Astros player to get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bagwell followed two years later. Biggio’s best stretch of his 20-year career came in 1997 and 1998 when he finished in the top five in National League MVP voting each season. In 1997, he hit .309 with 22 home runs and 37 doubles to go along with 47 stolen bases. The next season, he hit a career-best .325 with 20 home runs, a league-leading 51 doubles and 50 stolen bases. 

1. Jeff Bagwell

First baseman Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros takes a practice swing before batting against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a Major League Baseball game at Three Rivers Stadium in 1997 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

First baseman Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros takes a practice swing before batting against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a Major League Baseball game at Three Rivers Stadium in 1997 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Fighting over who was the better hitter between Bagwell and Biggio is going to be an all-day war, but Bagwell’s peak was greater than Biggio’s, so we’re giving the top spot to Bagwell. His 449 home runs, 1,529 RBIs and 1,401 walks all rank first on the Astros’ all-time list. No Astro will probably ever top his 1994 MVP season when he hit .368 with 39 home runs and a National League-best 116 RBI with a 1.201 OPS. He did all that in just 110 games after breaking his hand in August in a season that was cut short for the entire league when the players went on strike two days after Bagwell’s injury. Bagwell was a unanimous MVP in 1994 and finished in the top three in MVP voting two other teams (1997 and 1999).



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