Houston Astros: A Look at The Next 13 Years Modeled After the 90’s Braves
The Houston Astros are on the verge of something special!
The Braves and the Astros will be in two different situations at the beginning of the 2016 season. The Braves will be looking to keep rebuilding and hope for a better future. While the Astros will be looking to contend for an American League Championship. The Braves are using the “Astros” method of success. The method of stripping the whole team apart via trades. They have traded Andrelton Simmons, Shelby Miller, Cameron Maybin and others to obtain talent. The Braves are eventually hoping to become the 2015 Houston Astros. Oddly enough, in 2016, the Houston Astros are trying to become the 1991-2005 Atlanta Braves.
Between 1991-2005, the Braves had 14 straight playoff appearances and could have been 15 if it hadn’t been for the strike year. The Braves went to 5 world series and won 1 world series during that stretch. What makes these Braves like the Astros, is what was happening before the 1991 season. From 1983-1990, the Braves did not reach the playoffs. They had seven straight losing seasons during that span. This seems all too familiar to Astros fans. The Astros from 2006-2014 did not reach the playoffs and had six straight losing seasons and seven overall during that span. Both teams had very similar times before their breakout year.
The Atlanta Braves breakout year was 1991. The Braves went 94-68 that year and made it all the way to the World Series where they lost to the Minnesota Twins. This year was the first full year that Bobby Cox had with the team. During the 1990 season, he took over the team and changed the whole culture of the franchise. Again this seems all too familiar for Astros fans because the Astros breakout year was last year when A.J. Hinch took over the team and changed the whole culture.
The 1991 Atlanta Braves had a stellar pitching rotation in Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery. Glavine won the 1991 NL Cy Young Award, where he was 20-11 with a 2.55 ERA, and he was just 25 years old. Smoltz was 14-13 with a 3.80 ERA, and he was just 24 years old. Both of who would go on to have Hall of Fame careers. Avery was 18-8 with a 3.38 ERA and was just 21 years old. These pitchers had stellar seasons in the Braves breakout years while being young. Again this seems all to familiar for Astros fans.
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The Astros breakout year last year had a stellar pitching rotation consisting of Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers. Kecuhel won the AL Cy Young Award last year just like Glavine did in 1991. Keuchel was 20-8 with a 2.48 era and is just 27 years old. McHugh was 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA, and he is just 28 years old. McCullers was 6-7 with a 3.22 era and is just 21 years old. Both pitching staffs were electric, had a Cy Young award winner and were very young.
The similarities between both teams breakout years also consisted in the position player department. The 1991 Braves had young players in Ron Gant, David Justice and Terry Pendleton. Gant was just 26 years old and produced 32 home runs and 105 RBI. Justice won the rookie of the year in 1990 and was just 25 years old in 1991. He hit 21 home runs and had 87 RBI. Pendleton was 30 years old and hit .319, 22 home runs and 86 RBI while taking home the MVP Award.
Again this seems all to familiar for Astros fans. The Astros have young players in Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer. Altuve is just 25 years old. He hit .313 with 15 home runs and 66 RBI. Correa won the AL Rookie of the Year and is just 21 years old. He hit 22 home runs and 68 RBI. Springer is just 25 years old, and he hit 16 home runs and had 41 RBI.
Next: Houston Astros: Catching Up With 1st Round Pick Kyle Tucker (Interview)
Astros fans have great optimism this year and believe they could compete for an AL Championship, but the Astros are hoping to be that 1991-2005 Atlanta Braves team. The Astros are hoping to live up to that dynasty that the Braves had. Will the next 13 years for the Astros consist of 5 World Series and 1 World Series Championship?