2019 Annual Season Database Available December 12th!
2019: The Nationals Sit atop the Baseball World
by Steve Ehresman
“Once upon a time, Washington had a baseball team, and it had a reputation: Washington--first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League.” In a 2001 review of Hardball on the Hill, political commentator and baseball fan George F. Will referenced Charles Dryden’s 1909 taunt to express the abject failure that so often characterized baseball in our nation’s capital since its inception in 1901.
Before they skipped town and became the Minnesota Twins in 1961, the original Washington Senators (aka the Nationals or simply the Nats) won three pennants (1924, 1925, 1933) and one World Series (1924). Nevertheless, they suffered through multiple seasons of ignominy, finishing dead last eight times—their worst season coming in 1904 (38-113). Sometime in the 1940s, long-time owner Clark Griffith summed up the fortunes of his hapless charges by saying, “The fans enjoy home runs, and we have assembled a pitching staff that is sure to please them.”
From 1961-1971, the expansion Washington Senators stunk up D.C. until they packed their bags and became the Texas Rangers in 1972. Despite the fact that President John F. Kennedy threw out the first pitch for Washington’s new contingent of cast-offs and also-rans, the Senators finished their maiden season 61-101. Their most resounding belly flop occurred in 1963 when they finished 56-106. Despite a moment of hope under manager Ted Williams (86-76 in 1969), these second-generation Senators were dismal.
Enter the Montreal Expos, who became the Washington Nationals in 2005 and continued the legacy of baseball in our nation’s capital. After initially struggling, the Nationals enjoyed success when they won the National League East in 2014, 2016, and 2017. Nevertheless, they also suffered disappointment when they were eliminated in the NLDS each time.
That was then. This is now.
In 2019, the Washington Nationals, beginning the post-season as the First Wild Card team in the National League, defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, toppled the Los Angeles Dodgers, and crushed the St. Louis Cardinals to win a spot in the World Series against the Houston Astros, who were coming off their third consecutive season of one hundred wins. Despite their 19-31 start to the regular season and their entering the Fall Classic as underdogs to the juggernaut from Space City, the Nationals found a way, winning the only World Series in which the home team did not record a victory.
Led by a trio of ace starters—Max Scherzer (27 GS, 172.1 IP, 243 K, 2.92 ERA, 1.027 WHIP, 5.8 WAR), Patrick Corbin (33 GS, 202 IP, 238 K, 3.25 ERA, 1.183 WHIP, 5.4 WAR), and Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 33 GS, 209 IP, 251 K, 3.32 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 6.5 WAR)—the Nats won the first World Series championship for Washington, D.C. since Bucky Harris’ squad of 1924, as well as the first World Series championship in the history of the Expos/Nationals franchise.
The Washington pitching staff received support from a group of veterans (Kurt Suzuki, Howie Kendrick, and Ryan Zimmerman), a dynamic shortstop (Trea Turner: 19 HR, 57 RBI, .298 BA, .353 OBP, .497 SLG, .850 OPS, 35 SB, 2.4 WAR), an MVP-caliber third sacker (Anthony Rendon: 34 HR, 126 RBI, .319 BA, .412 OBP, .598 SLG, 1.010 OPS, 6.3 WAR), and a twenty-one-year-old wunderkind (Juan Soto: 34 HR, 110 RBI, .282 BA, .401 OBP, .548 SLG, .949 OPS, 4.7 WAR)—all of whom combined their talents to push a 93-69 team to the highest pinnacle of success.
The Houston Astros, dramatic foil for the Cinderella Nationals, had a roster of stars few other teams could match. Finishing the 2019 season with the best record in baseball (107-55), the Astros held off the upset-minded Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series, then defeated the New York Yankees (103-59) in the ALCS to reserve their table at the World Series for the second time in three seasons.
Leading the way for the Astros was their formidable young line-up. As always, Jose Altuve (31 HR, 74 RBI, .298 BA, .353 OBP, .550 SLG, .903 OPS, 3.7 WAR) anchored Houston’s offense. In 2019, he was joined by superb fly-chaser George Springer (39 HR, 96 RBI, .292 BA, .383 OBP, .591 SLG, 974 OPS, 6.2 WAR), MVP candidate Alex Bregman (41 HR, 112 RBI, .296 BA, .423 OBP, .592 SLG, 1.015 OPS, 8.4 WAR), and National League Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez (27 HR, 78 RBI, .313 BA, .412 OBP, .655 SLG, 1.067 OPS, 3.7 WAR) to form a nucleus of sluggers capable of winning multiple championships. Just as the Nationals received contributions from their veteran players, the Astros benefitted from a resurgent season by Michael Brantley (22 HR, 90 RBI, .311 BA, .372 OBP, .502 SLG, .875 OPS, 4.6 WAR).
On the mound, the Astros boasted a starting staff that rivaled or excelled that of the Washington Nationals. American League Cy Young Award Winner Justin Verlander (21-6, 34 GS, 223 IP, 300K, 2.58 ERA, 0.803 WHIP, 7.8 WAR) and Gerrit Cole (20-5, 33 GS, 212.1 IP, 326 K, 2.50 ERA, 0.895 WHIP, 6.8 WAR) gave Houston the best one-two pitching combination in recent memory. Almost forgotten was the third member of the Astros’ imposing starting staff: 2009 Cy Young Award Winner Zack Greinke (18-5, 33 GS, 208.2 IP, 187 K, 2.93 ERA, 0.982 WHIP, 6.4 WAR).
As a commercial on the MLB Channel insists, “The kids are here, and we play LOUD.” No one exemplifies the spirit of modern baseball more than two of its biggest stars: American League MVP Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels (45 HR, 104 RBI, .291 BA, .438 OBP, .645 SLG, 1.083 OPS, 8.3 WAR) and National League MVP Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers (47 HR, 115 RBI, .305 BA, .406 OBP, .629 SLG, 1.035 OPS, 9.0 WAR).
The 2018 MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers (44 HR, 97 RBI, .329 BA,,.429 OBP, .671 SLG, 1.100 OPS, 7.1 WAR) followed his award-winning campaign with aplomb, and Pete “Polar Bear” Alonso of the New York Mets, the National League Rookie of the Year, burst on to the scene with ferocity (53 HR, 120 RBI, .260 BA, .358 OBP, .583 SLG, .941 OPS, 5.0 WAR) to lead Major League Baseball in home runs. Further emphasizing the flavor of baseball in 2019, Marcus Semien of the Oakland Athletics put himself into the MVP race with a breakout season: 38 HR, 92 RBI, .285 BA, 369 OBP, .522 SLG, .892 OPS, 8.1 WAR).
Fifty-eight players hit 30 home runs, and thirty-two did it for the first time. Four squads (the Astros, the Dodgers, the Yankees, and the Twins) broke the 2018 team record of 267 home runs (nearly 30 per lineup spot) set by the Yankees. The Minnesota Twins, the greatest mashers of all, set a major league record by clobbering 307 long balls. The LOUD sound one heard in 2019 was the explosion caused by a record-breaking 6,777 home runs flying out of major league ball parks.
Their major league-leading excellence nearly overshadowed by the proliferation of long balls, Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox batted .335; Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox scored 135 runs; Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals smacked 206 hits; Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox amassed 359 total bases; Nick Castellanos of the Chicago Cubs cracked 58 doubles; Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals collected 126 RBI; Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros drew 119 bases on balls; and Mallex Smith of the Seattle Mariners swiped 46 bases.
Premier relief pitchers Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees (60 G, 57.0 IP, 38 H, 85 K, 2.21 ERA, 1.105 WHIP) and Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers (61 G, 75.2 IP, 41 H, 138 K, 2.62 ERA, 1.014 WHIP) locked-down games in The Bronx and Brew City. Asserting the importance of starting pitching, Charlie Morton of the Tampa Bay Rays (16-6, 33 GS, 194.2 IP, 240 K, 3.05 ERA, 1.084 WHIP, 5.0 WAR) and Hyun-Jim Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers (14-5, 29 GS, 182.2 IP, 163 K, 2.32 ERA, 1.007 WHIP, 5.3 WAR) helped to guide their teams to the post-season. For good measure, Jacob deGrom won his second consecutive Cy Young Award in the National League, putting up numbers that belied the 2019 offensive surge: 11-8, 32 GS, 204 IP, 256 K, 1.43 ERA, 0.971 WHIP, 7.9 WAR.
When the history of this era is written, the most important development may well be the emergence of young stars. Some have already written their names in record books. Some may have begun to engrave their plaques at Cooperstown. In a sport that is increasingly a young man’s game, Yordan Alvarez and Pete Alonso took home RYO hardware for their 2019 excellence, but they are not alone.
Other promising youngsters are only beginning to realize their potential: Luis Arraez (Minnesota Twins); Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero, Junior (Toronto Blue Jays); Tommy Edman (St. Louis Cardinals); Keston Hiura (Milwaukee Brewers); Adam Haseley (Philadelphia Phillies); Dakota Hudson (St. Louis Cardinals); Eloy Jimenez (Chicago White Sox); Brandon Lowe (Tampa Bay Rays); Dustin May (Los Angeles Dodgers); Brendan McKay (Tampa Bay Rays); Oscar Mercado (Cleveland Indians); Chris Paddack (San Diego Padres); John Means (Baltimore Orioles); Bryan Reynolds (Pittsburgh Pirates); Victor Robles (Washington Nationals); Nick Senzel (Cincinnati Reds); Will Smith (Los Angeles Dodgers); Mike Soroka (Atlanta Braves); Fernando Tatis, Junior (San Diego Padres); Alex Verdugo (Los Angeles Dodgers); and Mike Yastrzemski (San Francisco Giants). They will carry Our National Pastime to the next stage of its long history, allowing today’s fans to tell their grandchildren about the thrill they felt when they saw these legends-in-the making come of age.
The 2019 season was inundated by discussions of hard-hit rates and spin rates, launch angles and exit velocities, drag coefficients and defensive shifts, automated strike zones and sign-stealing. Despite the noise surrounding baseball, the game will survive. Its roots go back far into history. Baseball has evolved. Baseball has adapted. Baseball has survived. It has challenged and celebrated every generation since Alexander Joy Cartwright and the New York Knickerbockers. Every player, veteran or rookie, is an heir to the legacy of the Elysian Fields. On that hallowed ground, even a city shamed by a 110-year-old taunt can produce a World Series Champion.
The 2019 Annual Season Database contains everything you need to play games using teams and players from the 2019 season -- a full set of ratings and statistics for every player who appeared in the big leagues this year, plus team rosters, manager profiles, ballpark ratings and league schedules. Statistics include official batting, pitching and fielding totals with left/right splits for all batters and pitchers.
Also included is a complete set of real-life player transactions -- trades, disabled list moves, promotions, demotions, suspensions, and more -- plus the actual starting lineups for every regular season game played.
If you don't already own the Diamond Mind Baseball Game: Version 11 you can buy the game together with the 2019 Annual Season Database and get the Season Database for 35% off the regular price. Add both items to your cart and use shopping code SD2019BUN to apply the discount at checkout.