Houston Astros: Constructing a Champion

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04: Manager A.J. Hinch
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04: Manager A.J. Hinch /
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HOUSTON, TX – NOVEMBER 03: George Springer
HOUSTON, TX – NOVEMBER 03: George Springer /

Here’s how the Astros built a winner.

Baseball is all about numbers. The Astros know this better than anyone else. There are infinite stats available everywhere. If you want to know a player’s batting average, it’s out there. What about a pitchers ERA? It’s out there. I’ll throw some numbers out there for you.


That’s the Astros total team salary payroll in 2017 per Spotrac.

Seems like a lot, right?This is good for the 15th overall payroll in the MLB for 2017. Unsurprisingly, the heavy-hitter Dodgers are first with a $265 million payroll. Second overall are the Yankees with $224 million and the Red Sox in third with $222 million. And Astros beat all three of those teams to win the championship in reverse order!

In fact, 15th overall is high for the Astros. They were 21st in 2016, 25th in 2015 and last in 2013 and 2014. Astros have had the lowest payrolls in the league for quite some time.

Does money buy championships?

Not always.

This team was built with numbers but not the ones following the dollar sign but was built on Sabermetrics. Jeff Luhnow took over as General Manager for the Astros in 2011 and began work immediately. The Astros got worse under his first few years, but behind the scenes, they actually were getting better. They had three straight 100 loss seasons followed by a 92 loss season in 2014 before making a playoff appearance in 2015. In the 55 year history of this team, they have never lost 100 or more games let alone 3 in a row.