As the summer winds down and the fall begins to reside in Houston, Texas, one thing is for sure, Houston Astro baseball is alive and well. What some naysayers” have said in the recent past about this Astro organization hasn’t boded well with this group.
This edition of the Houston Astros has made it clear that the doubters opinions have set sail in the Gulf of Mexico.
Atop almost every offensive category in Major League Baseball, this Astro team shows no signs of slowing down. Led by young thoroughbred superstars named Altuve, Correa, Springer, and, McCullers, the young nucleus of this team has made it very clear to the rest of the league, they’re here to stay for quite a while.
2011, the year of draft picks and losses. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that finishing 56-106 is bad.
Real bad. Enter, Carlos Correa. The slick fielding, Power hitting Shortstop from Puerto Rico. The 2012 number 1 pick overall was a jewel Houston Could not afford to overlook. Teaming up with Correa, the number 11 pick overall in 2011, George Springer, gave the Astros one word. “Hope”.
Jim Crane, owner of the Astros vowed to the Houston faithful that good things are to come when your patient. Patience were running thin after 2011. Fast forward to 2012, again bad. Real bad. 55-107 was worse than the year before. The silver lining, Lance McCullers taken with the 41st pick overall.
One word continued to surface,” Hope”. Astro fans were pretty much in realization that this franchise was no threat for years to come. They were right. Enter a 5’6” second baseman named Jose Altuve. “Who”? Yes, Jose Altuve.
An undersized native of Venezuela, might of saved the city of Houston. Quietly, hitting .290 Altuve, was the lone representative of the Astros in the 2012 MLB All-star game. Altuve showed the city of good things to come.
2013, was flat out miserable. 51-111 was rock bottom for this franchise. The entire MLB was very aware of what was going on. For one, draft picks, two, the future. As it seemed, baseball in Houston was non-existent. All that mattered was how this team would ever respond and grow.
According to then manager Bo Porter, “Lots of Things Went Wrong 111 Times This Season”. He was right. Houston Astro baseball was the laughing stock of the league. It didn’t matter what the Astros brass did, it simply wasn’t good enough. For now.
After another dismal season in 2014 (70-92), 2015 had a different feel for some reason, maybe it was the fanbase not putting expectations on this team. Enter new Manager A.J. Hinch. After a failed managerial stint in Arizona, Hinch oversaw a team that averaged 26 years in age for all position players, and 29 years in age for all pitchers. It would be safe to say, it was a new start for Hinch.
Finishing 2 games behind the AL West champion Texas Rangers, the Astros secured their first playoff berth since 2005. (86-76). They lost to the eventual AL champion Kansas City Royals 3-2. One thing was clear after the 2015 season, “Hope” was near. At times you are reminded of how difficult it is to make the playoffs not to mention in back to back years. That’s exactly what happened in 2016. No playoffs. No problem.
What was in store for the entire baseball world would be worth every wait.
The 2017 Houston Astros was a clear reminder of how patience, creativity, and savvy from the front office led by Jeff Luhnow, manager A.J. Hinch and all the coaches and staff. Going from rags to riches in approximately 6-7 years is attribute to everyone that put into the process.
Players like Dallas Keuchel, George Springer and trade deadline super hero Justin Verlander, The Houston Astros finished 101-61 and won their first World Championship in franchise history. An epic seven game series with versus the NL Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, proved to be one of most exciting World Series in recent memory. “Houston Strong” the Astros proved to be.
Playing for the entire city of Houston which was demolished by Hurricane Harvey, these Astros not only showed resiliency it shared that one word, “Hope”.