For the time being, Hall of Fame slugger Jeff Bagwell owns the distinction of being at the top of Astros home run leaders for an entire career and for a single season. He didn’t just take the top spot on Houston’s season-long leaderboard, either. His footprint was left throughout. Let’s see exactly how often below by detailing the top five before listing out the reminder of the top 20.
Astros Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Jeff Bagwell: 47 Home Runs in 2000
Bagwell never once led the league in home runs during his career, but he did put together eight different seasons of at least 30 homers and 100 RBI. Three of those included 40-homer efforts, and his 2000 performance was the last of its kind for him. It just so happened to be his best, as well.
Along with those 47 home runs, Bagwell also collected 132 RBI, a league-leading 152 runs scored, and a .310/.424/.615 line in 719 plate appearances for the Astros. The right-handed hitter enjoyed four months with an OPS greater than 1.000, but what he did in July and August is what truly propelled him to these heights. Through 236 plate appearances, he slashed .363/.475/.763 with 22 home runs, 55 RBI, and 55 runs scored, which was all good for a 196 wRC+.
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Lance Berkman: 45 Home Runs in 2006
Lance Berkman put together some huge years for the Astros, but none were as huge in the power department as his 2006 performance. The 45 home runs and 136 RBI he collected both ended up being single-season career-high marks, and he hit .315/.420/.621 in the process.
Berkman’s best work came in April when he started off his season by slashing .348/.413/.728 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI. He never met or surpassed those homer or RBI numbers the rest of the season, and the same could be said for his 1.141 April OPS. What’s interesting here is Berkman actually finished four different months with a batting average of at least .329 (and three with a .345 average), but in the two months he didn’t? His averages were .241 in May and .267 in August, which clearly tanked his season-long number.
He also split his time in the field, but it didn’t really matter. The switch-hitter posted a 1.032 OPS in 462 plate appearances as a first baseman and a 1.130 mark in 156 plate appearances as a right-fielder.
Richard Hidalgo: 44 Home Runs in 2000
Richard Hidalgo posted just one 30-homer, 100-RBI season during his nine-year MLB career, but my goodness did he make the absolute most of it. Along with the 44 home runs he hit in 2000, he also collected 122 RBI. In all the other years of his career, the closest Hidalgo came to these numbers would be in 2003 when he slugged 28 homers with 88 RBI.
His power production in the first half (23 dingers) was quite close to what he did in the second half (21), but Hidalgo preferred hitting on the road. Although his home OPS (1.008) and road OPS (1.046) were quite close, the outfielder slugged 28 of his homers as a visiting player, compared to 16 in front of the home crowd.
And, you want to talk about finishing with a bang? Check out Hidalgo’s final 124 plate appearances of the season in September. He slashed .477/.532/.953 (!) with 11 homers, 32 RBI, and 38 runs scored. Phew.
Jeff Bagwell: 43 Home Runs in 1997
After he just missed reaching the 40-homer plateau during the strike-shortened 1994 season, Bagwell’s 1997 performance was the first time he finally got past it. He paired it with 135 RBI en route to appearing in the All-Star Game, winning a Silver Slugger award, and placing third in NL MVP voting.
He didn’t seem to have a problem facing right-handed pitching, which he did during the majority of his career. In 1997, Bagwell slashed .298/.423/.630 with 38 homers and 115 RBI in this situation, and he also enjoyed attacking the first pitch. His eight home runs and 29 RBI in that situation were the most among any count he faced that season, and he paired those numbers with a ridiculous .524/.546/.1.079 line.
Jeff Bagwell: 42 Home Runs in 1999
Technically, Bagwell and Berkman (2002) are tied here, but since Baggy has the upper hand in wRC+ (166 vs. 149) and fWAR (7.8 vs. 6.1), I decided to give him the trifecta in the top five. He finished second in NL MVP voting in this year, which was the final time he landed in the top five in his career.
This was also the second time he reached 40 homers in the last three seasons, and it was the first of consecutive campaigns he reached it, making it the most powerful two-year span of his career. Ironically enough, Bagwell saved his best work at the plate for when he was on the road. As a visiting player, he hit .337/.477/.709 with 30 home runs and 79 RBI. At home, those numbers dropped to .271/.430/.469, 12, and 47, respectively.
Astros Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Here’s what the rest of the Astros’ top-20 most powerful seasons looks like:
- Lance Berkman, 2022: 42 home runs
- Alex Bregman, 2019: 41
- Bagwell, 1994, 2001, and 2003: 39
- George Springer, 2019: 39
- Moises Alou, 1998: 38
- Jimmy Wynn, 1967: 37
- Chris Carter, 2014: 37
- Morgan Ensberg, 2005: 36
- Lance Berkman, 2001 and 2007: 34
- Jeff Bagwell, 1998: 34
- Glenn Davis, 1989: 34
- George Springer, 2017: 34
To see the rest of the sluggers beyond these performances, head over the FanGraphs.