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    Sunday, November 6, 2022

    New Sporcle Quiz (Best Active Players Without a World Series 2022 Edition), Plus Bonus Trivia!

    The Houston Astros have won the 2022 World Series after an exciting and historic six-game set, which means that I can move forwards with my yearly tradition. Here’s the 2022 Edition of my Annual Best Active Players Without a World Series Sporcle Quiz Series! For those who enjoy hunting for bonus answers, this year’s version includes three players who are out of Major League Baseball but still playing in foreign leagues, plus an entry for players removed from this list via winning the 2022 World Series (one name this time).

    I’ll discuss a little more after this next section, although there will be mild spoilers for the quiz. Before that, though: for anyone looking for more trivia after that:

    Here’s a playlist including all nine entries in the series

    There’s also all of my Win Probability Added quizzes that I made during this postseason:
    Best Postseasons of the Wild Card Era (Hitters)
    Best Postseasons of the Wild Card Era (Hitters)
    Most Career WPA, Wild Card Era (Hitters)
    Most Career WPA, Wild Card Era (Pitchers)
    Most Win Probability Added in a World Series from Losing Players

    And for good measure, here’s my quiz from last offseason looking at Hall of Famers by Birthplace, plus two more from postseasons’ past about Expansion Teams in October

    I updated all of the Win Probability quizzes that needed it with 2022 data, now that the playoffs are over. No one on Philly managed to qualify for the WPA by Losing Players list, but the other four all saw some tweaks. Yordan Álvarez and Bryce Harper’s 2022 runs qualified for the single-season list for hitters (with Jeremy Peña falling just 0.04 short), and Ryan Pressly and Zack Wheeler made the pitcher list. I had the Career WPA current up through the Championship Series, so the only changes were updating the values; the only changes were both in the bonus answers (Kyle Schwarber move into bonus answer range, while Wheeler’s rough Game 2 actually knocked him off the list).

    Now for the newest quiz: the biggest beneficiary of the Astros’ title was clearly manager Dusty Baker, a future Hall of Famer who finally removed the single biggest gap on his resume after three decades and removed the single biggest obstacle left to his induction. As far as players, though, Michael Brantley didn’t get to appear in the postseason at all due to injury; however, he was still on the team, so we can finally take him off the list (and even if he wasn’t, I include anyone who appeared during the season at all for my quizzes).

    Outside of those two, much like with the Braves’ win last season, the biggest effect this win has on these quizzes will come down the line; Kyle Tucker and Yordan were maybe a season or two from qualifying, and newer players like Peña, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier would have probably been a few seasons after them if they kept up. Trey Mancini has been around a bit, and didn’t quite have the Wins Above Replacement total needed, but now it’s a non-issue.

    And to follow-up on some other tidbits from this year’s Playoff Trivia article, Will Smith and Christian Vázquez now join the somewhat-exclusive group of “Players with World Series on Two Different Teams”, with former-Brave Smith becoming just the tenth player to accomplish that in back-to-back seasons.

    Continuing down my yearly trivia bits, Astros-Phillies was the 71st distinct matchup in the October Classic. And the Astros won their second World Series, becoming the fifth expansion team to do so (after the Mets, Blue Jays, Marlins, and Royals), and their fifth Pennant ties them with their 1962 Expansion-mates, the Mets, for most in that group. I think there’s a very real argument that the Astros are now the most successful baseball franchise outside of the original sixteen.

    If you’re not convinced and need some tiebreaker for their even postseason records, consider that in regular season games, Houston is now 4,831-4,820 all-time, making them the only expansion franchise above .500 (the Blue Jays and Angels are next-closest, at .498). And their 106-win 2022 season (the second-best mark in team history, after only 2019’s 107-win campaign) marks the fifth time they’ve won over 100 games in a season, keeping them just ahead of the Mets, who notched their own fourth 100-win year in 2022.

    Even more surprising to me, only five of the other twelve expansion teams have had even one 100-win season, meaning the Astros (and almost the Mets) have completely lapped the field in this category. I knew those two were a little ahead of everyone else there, but I had no idea the gap was that large.

    Either way, I still have one more 2022 Postseason-themed quiz in mind, so check back here in a few days!

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