Astros: This is just the beginning for the Stros!
Comparing the Astros to the rest of the Texas sports teams.
Through the early 2000’s, Texas had its fan favorites for each sport. Teams like the Houston Astros as their representative in baseball, Dallas Cowboys in football, and the San Antonio Spurs in basketball. After all, the Astros were the first Texas Major League Baseball team to represent in the World Series, the Cowboys were five-time champions, and the Spurs had four rings at the time.
Sure we can debate at length on which teams are the best to follow or root for. Rockets over the Spurs or Mavericks, Texans over the Cowboys, etc. But the teams above and their accomplishments were the best representatives of the great state of Texas.
The only problem at the beginning of the millennium was neither the Rangers or the Astros were able to add a title to the list of Texas accolades. Now that the Astros are World Series Champions, Texas boasts a championship pedigree in every major American team sport.
Texans love to support a winning team. They will attend games, buy the gear, and watch the televised games. According to ballparksofbaseball.com, below is the average annual attendance at what most would say are the Astros/Rangers best seasons:
Astros (2 wild card berths and WS appearance) 2,925,172
Rangers (finished 3rd in their division both years) 2,500,385
Astros (finished 3rd in division, and last twice) 2,002,079
Rangers (2 division titles, wild card winner and 2 WS appearances) 2,970,800
This is a small sample size to show just how much the Astros have in store for them on the money side of baseball. The attendance for the 2017 season was the highest in seven years. After the championship season, that number can only increase.
To go with the assured rise in revenue based on historical data, let’s delve into a future element that may show the Astros are building an empire.
All-Star depth for years.
This is a young nucleus of All-Star caliber players with contracts locked in for years to come.
Leading off is 28-year-old George Springer, who so far has accomplished the following in his four years of Major League Baseball experience: World Series MVP, Silver Slugger, and one All-Star appearance. Springer is under contract through the 2021 season. He has shown an increase in HR, RBI’s and OBP in each of the last three seasons while decreasing his strikeout percentage from 27.64% in 2016 to 20.25% in 2017. The statistics leave one to think that we may not have seen his ceiling yet.
Next is Jose Altuve. ‘Tuve’ who at just 27 years of age has dominated major league pitching. He has won the Silver Slugger award every year dating back to 2014. He is also a five-time All-Star and a gold glove winner. Jose is under contract through the 2019 season, yet something tells me if any of the Astros position players are willing to give a hometown discount in contract negotiations it is this guy.
The young guys.
Now onto the heralded Carlos Correa. Predicted by many to be the face of baseball, and so far he has shown that the talent is there. While some keep expecting monster years, we have to keep things in perspective, he is only 23 years old, and he is not expected to carry this team. Correa has his best years ahead by far and is under contract through the 2021 season. He has made one All-Star appearance and was the 2015 rookie of the year. This past season he was on pace for 35 home runs, and 124 RBI’s before an injury caused him to ride the pine for over a month.
Last on this list is Alex Bregman. 2017 was the first full season for the 23-year-old, yet he played like a seasoned vet. His calm demeanor and tough at-bats were Bagwell-esque. Bregman appears to finally fill the 3rd base position that has remained vacant since Bush’s second inaugural address. Under contract through 2022 season, he had a very respectable year both on offense and defense. He batted .279 with a OBP of .342, and in this writer’s opinion, should have won a gold glove.
Don’t forget about the pitchers.
Follow up that All-Star list of position players with the likes of pitchers Keuchel and Verlander who not only are locked up through 2018 and 2020 respectively but have two Cy Young awards and 8 All-Star appearances under their belt. I think it’s safe to say this nucleus will be deadly.
Those players as mentioned above are just the best of the Astros roster. We did not even get into the likes of Gurriel, McCullers, Gonzalez, and Reddick. Nor did we cover the genius of the front office, and the talent waiting in the minors. This roster is built to win, this organization is built to win, and with winning comes high attendance, rising television revenues, and more jersey sales.
Next: Joe Espada is the bench coach, not Carlos Beltran
The track history is there, with the 4th largest market in America, the “Lastros” are on their way to becoming the best all-around baseball franchise to represent middle America and of course Texas.
***Attendance data from ballparksofbaseball.com***