The date is June 29th, 2014, and my buddy Tom and I are battling it out on MLB The Show 2013. After I finish kicking his ass with the Red Sox, I turn to him and say, “I will literally use the Astros and you can use the Tigers and I will still win.” I tell this to you because the Houston Astros at the time were the absolute laughing stock of the league.
Fast forward to the the very next day. My treasured Sports Illustrated was coming in and as always, was curious to see who would be on the cover. To my surprise, not only were the last place Astros on the cover, SI was predicting them to be the 2017 World Series Champs. Well as one can probably predict, I didn’t react too fondly to this and quickly text my buddy on the catastrophic cover of the recent SI issue. I looked at the cover and laughed. But how unwise my judgements were. For the last 5 years, I have felt personally attacked because the Houston Astros have made a point to become the best franchise in baseball and continue to prove me wrong every single day.
The transformation can solely be attributed to their organizations development of farm system prospects. Despite being a poor team at the big league level, the Houston Astros were doing work in the scouting department. Choosing to draft George Springer in 2011, and Carlos Correa in ‘12 (both first rounders) proved to be a cornerstone for the core they were trying to create. Building off what they already had in the likes of All-Stars Jose Altuve and Dallas Keuchel, they quickly used one of their high draft picks in 2015 to attain Alex Bregman. The Astros proved that having a strong farm system may be the best way to build a dynasty.
This year the Astros have shined from the very beginning. Despite a historically hot start by the Seattle Mariners, the Astros never felt intimidated. They recaptured first place for good and haven’t even been close to second place since then. Throughout the year they’ve had two no hitters, including Justin Verlanders recent gem. They have both of the CY Young candidates in Verlander and Cole and they also have four batters with over 30 home runs. This year the Astros have been nothing short of dominant and have achieved a very hard feat, which is exceeding everyones already high expectations.
With all this success however, the team still appreciates every moment. In their recent division title celebration, Manager AJ Hinch reflected on the recent success stating, “I like hanging flags: flags for divisions matter, flags for the World Series matter, and I want our guys to appreciate that.”
Sundays win over the Angels was their 102nd. They take on the Seattle Mariners tomorrow and hope to obtain home field advantage over the Yankees with a strong finish to the year. The Astros are the best franchise in baseball and they are poised to make another World Series run.
Photo credit: Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports
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