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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Trust the Process

Attendance was the lowest it’s been since the mid-90s in the Astrodome, and their payroll was the worst in that tenure.

Behind the scenes though, they managed to attain Sig Mejdal a NASA bio-mathematician who studied sleep patterns for astronauts. As of 2012, he serves as the Director of Decisions Sciences for the Houston Astros. He was hired to help the team with analytics and created the STOUT system.

The STOUT system essentially is Stats and Scouts analytics to select players and rejuvenate the farm system. Therefore, he created formulas and analysis based on Bill James, the grandfather of sabermetrics. Little did we know as fans, they were constructing a championship team behind the scenes.

Like I mentioned earlier, baseball has a stat on everything. It’s the most numbers weighted game in all sports mainly due to the inconstancies of the dimensions of all the different ballparks in the Major League. Baseball is no longer about only generating runs and striking opposing batters out to get the win. In fact, teams with little payroll rely on these hidden stats to create wins.

It all starts with the players. One benefit of being at the bottom for so long is higher draft picks, compensation, supplementary picks and waiver priority. The Astros are a young team with an average age of 29 and a homegrown roster.

Putting this team together.

It all started with Jose Altuve being an international signing in 2006. After being sent home for being too short, he returned the next day pleading for an audition. He impressed team officials and signed a contract. He played in the minors for four years before being promoted in 2011. That’s same year. The Astros select George Springer with their first pick of the 2011 draft.

In 2009, they signed Dallas Keuchel in the seventh round. He struggled in the minors and finally had a sub-5.00 ERA before being signed on to the Astros in 2012 only going on to be a Cy Young Award winner in 2015 and World Champion this year.

They snagged Carlos Correa in 2012 with the first overall pick and grabbed Lance McCullers, Jr. in the second round. Derek Fisher and Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel were drafted in 2014 and 2015. Yuli Gurriel was signed to a contract in 2016.

This team led all Major League Baseball with production from talent acquired, but they weren’t finished. I mentioned earlier that waiver priority and trades were also a benefactor in constructing a team in last place. They found Marwin Gonzalez in 2011. Joe Musgrove and Chris Devenski in 2012. Brad Peacock in 2013. Also, Evan Gattis was acquired in 2015 from the Braves and Brian McCann in 2016 from the Yankees. Oh, I almost forgot, they traded for some guy named Justin Verlander this year.

Did I miss anybody?