Astros fans were subjected to three consecutive 100-loss seasons as the Jeff Luhnow-led front office aimed to build a young core by stockpiling talent in the draft. That approach led the Astros multiple top-five overall selections in the draft, and the team also leaned on creative means of utilizing its draft to nab highly touted prospects that slid down the board due to signability concerns. The finishing touches on this year’s 101-win team were made last offseason in trades (Brian McCann), free agency (Josh Reddick, Charlie Morton, Carlos Beltran) and of course, with this August’s last-minute Justin Verlander blockbuster.
Houston drew plenty of criticism from skeptics of their data-driven approach as they effectively tanked multiple seasons, but they now sport an imposing all-around roster the looks poised for a lengthy run of success. Here’s how they built the roster that now has the opportunity to make Sports Illustrated’s infamous 2014 prediction come true…
- HOMEGROWN (8)
- Jose Altuve, 2B: International Free Agent (Venezuela) March ’07
- Dallas Keuchel, SP: Drafted 7th Rd ’09
- George Springer, OF: Drafted 1st Rd (11) ’11
- Carlos Correa, SS: Drafted 1st Rd (1) ’12
- Lance McCullers Jr., SP: Drafted 1st Rd (41) ’12
- Tyler White, INF: Drafted 33rd Rd ’13
- Derek Fisher, OF: Drafted 1st Rd (37) ’14
- Alex Bregman, 3B: Drafted 1st Rd (2) ’15
- ACQUIRED VIA FREE AGENCY (6)
- Luke Gregerson, RP: December ’14 (OAK) — Signed to a three-year, $18.5MM contract.
- Yulieski Gurriel, 1B: July ’16 (Cuba) — Signed to a five-year, $47.5MM contract.
- Josh Reddick, OF: November ’16 (LAD) — Signed to a four-year, $52MM contract.
- Charlie Morton, SP: November ’16 (PHI) — Signed to a two-year, $14MM contract.
- Juan Centeno, C: December ’16 (MIN) — Signed to a minor league contract.
- Carlos Beltran, OF: December ’16 (TEX) — Signed to a one-year, $16MM contract.
- ACQUIRED VIA TRADE (9)
- Marwin Gonzalez, INF/OF: December ’11 (BOS) — Acquired in the trade that sent Marco Duarte to the Red Sox. Gonzalez had just been drafted by the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft.
- Joe Musgrove, RP: July ’12 (TOR) — Acquired in the trade that sent J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter to the Blue Jays.
- Chris Devenski, RP: August ’12 (CWS) — Acquired in the trade that sent Brett Myers to the White Sox.
- Brad Peacock, SP: February ’13 (OAK) — Acquired in the trade that sent Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez to the Athletics.
- Evan Gattis, C: November ’15 (ATL) — Acquired in the trade that sent Mike Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz and Andrew Thurman to the Braves.
- Ken Giles, RP: December ’15 (PHI) — Acquired in the trade that sent Vince Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Thomas Eshelman, Mark Appel, and Harold Arauz to the Phillies.
- Brian McCann, C: November ’16 (NYY) — Acquired in the trade that sent Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman to the Yankees.
- Francisco Liriano, RP: July ’17 (TOR) — Acquired in the trade that sent Nori Aoki and Teoscar Hernandez to the Blue Jays.
- Justin Verlander, SP: August ’17 (DET) — Acquired in the trade that sent Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron, and Jake Rogers to the Tigers.
Of the players on Houston’s 25-man ALDS roster, only Beltran, Gregerson, Maybin and Liriano will be free agents at the end of the season. In fact, nearly each of the Astros’ star-caliber players can be controlled through at least 2019, with the notable exception of Keuchel, who will hit the open market next winter. With few weaknesses and a wealth of young stars that are in their prime, the Astros look to be a perennial postseason contender for the foreseeable future.