Over the past half-decade, the Houston Astros have consistently been at the top of the MLB. As a franchise over 60 years old, their only championship success has been over the past few seasons.
Before their surge in the late 2010s, they were the league’s bottom feeders and were perennially one of the worst teams.
Through developing talent and replenishing it as it leaves, the Astros have built a dynasty over the past half-decade.
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The first year that the franchise succeeded was the 2005 season, in which they made it to their first World Series before losing in a 4–0 sweep. However, from 2006 to 2016, the team became one of the worst teams in the league.
Throughout those 11 years, the team only recorded four winning seasons, two of which were the last two years of that period. In that span, they had back-to-back-to-back 100-loss seasons, employing three different managers to right the ship.
While most of the players that made up the 100-loss teams were gone by the time of success within the franchise, there were a couple of notable players. Jose Altuve, a 5’6 Venezuelan-born second-basemen and Dallas Keuchel, a lefty starting pitcher drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, would become center pieces of the team.
The tide officially swung when the team signed manager A.J. Hinch to a contract prior to the 2015 season, where he led them to two straight winning seasons before the magical 2017 season began.
Winning the First
2017 was the year of the Astros. The team was led by incredible young talents such as Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and Lance McCullers Jr, as well as the tenured players of Jose Altuve and Dallas Keuchel.
Despite the young and talented roster, general manager Jeff Luhnow believed the team was one piece away from contending for a championship.
Acting on that belief, during the 2017 waiver trade deadline, he sent three prospects to the Detroit Tigers for an aging and declining pitcher in Justin Verlander.
The move paid off immediately, as Verlander held an ERA of 1.06 in five regular-season starts and continued his dominance in the playoffs.
With an incredible offense and lights-out starting pitching, the team won the first World Series in franchise history in a seven-game thriller against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After winning the World Series in 2017, things looked like they would only be going up for the franchise. The team would continue to be a dominant force in the American League, losing in the ALCS in the 2018 season and falling just short in the 2019 World Series.
Following the conclusion of the 2019 World Series, a scandal broke out that shocked the entire league and its fans. It was revealed that the Houston Astros cheated during the 2017 season by electronically stealing signs and relaying them to the batters by hitting a trash can.
Despite cheating, the team faced little consequence outside of public scrutiny. The only individuals to face any punishment were on the coaching staff and in the front office, as no player faced any suspension or fine of any kind.
Back on Top
Houston took this scandal in stride and did not allow it to affect their play on the field.
Despite consistently losing talent from year to year, notably World Series hero George Springer, franchise shortstop Carlos Correa, starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton and several more notable players leaving, the team has been consistently able to replace their production with new players.
The team has shown to be one of the most prolific teams in developing talent, most importantly evaluating developing international players often overlooked by other franchises.
Their persistence has paid off, as since 2017, they have at least made it to the American League Championship Series every single year and have made it to four World Series.
Finally, in 2022, the Houston Astros recaptured the World Series and once again are the best team in the entire league for the first time since 2017 and are officially a dynasty.
The featured image at the beginning of this post is from Epicsoftwaregroup of PixaBay.