Astros’ contact stats starting to look extremely fishy again

Adam Weinrib
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros celebrates after hitting a game-winning single during the tenth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2017 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros celebrates after hitting a game-winning single during the tenth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2017 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Consider us the Executive Vice President of Astros Cheating Allegations, “Not Saying, Just Saying” department.

Dodgers fans have had a fun few years here, despairing about losing the World Series twice in two seasons to Houston and Boston, watching the team disappoint far earlier in the 2019 NLDS, then both learning they’d lost championships to a pair of tainted teams before winning the 2020 Series and cementing themselves among the great teams of this era.

However, no amount of gold varnish can mute the feeling of additional rings being taken off your hands, and the Astros’ championship in particular will never feel legitimate.

We know enough details of their scandalous behavior now that, even though their fans will scream until they’re Dodger Blue in the face about how they were a scapegoat in MLB’s scope, you could convince us they did anything. Why are buzzers so ridiculous, Houston? You did a lot of similar stuff, and were barely punished. Why would you stop?

That brings us to today, where — oh, would you look at that! — the Houston Astros are completely lapping the rest of Major League Baseball again in terms of making contact.

Very impressive offense packed with very impressive offensive players? But in a league decimated by pitchers defying science using sticky substances, how are the Astros possibly this much better than anyone else at putting bat to ball?

The Astros’ contact percentages are getting sketchy, Dodgers fans.

Astros fans are definitely going to cry foul about this article, too, so we ask: why should we trust you? We didn’t trust you when AJ Hinch laughed at the Yankees’ whistling allegations in 2019, and it turned out — whoa, hold up! — that Hinch was lying through his teeth.

The sum total of the Astros’ punishment ended up being … a little bit of public jeering and no asterisk. Why not do the whole thing all over again? Especially coming off a pandemic that took most of the shine off your shaming. Especially if video room-based cheating really is as “widespread” as Houston fans would like you to believe it is.

Head right to FanGraphs. See the evidence for yourself. Almost the entirety of Major League Baseball, all across the spectrum, is sitting between 77% and 75%. Contact percentage is an extremely stable team-wide stat, with very little variance across the league. The second-place Angels sit at 77.5%, and the 16th-ranked White Sox are at 75.5%. Those first-place Astros? 81.1%.

We’re not accusing the Astros of anything untoward.

But … even if we were … we’re allowed to. We’re simply allowed to do that. If the worst punishment Astros fans ever face is reading articles online that they believe are unfounded, then you know what? Not really a fate worse than death.

If you’re going to continue to root for a franchise that perverted baseball, you’re going to have to keep reading these attacks which you believe to be inane. Best of luck explaining this trend! Dodgers fans — and Yankees fans, and A’s fans, and White Sox fans — will be waiting.

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