The Houston Astros won Game 7 of the World Series and are now champions for the first time in franchise history.
The Astros’ success began with an unprecedented tanking operation. The team’s brain trust built two of the worst teams in MLB history in their first years on the job. The result was a bushel of high draft picks and a farm system that produced many of their current players.
What’s more, while the Astros are known for hoarding their top prospects, they won’t hesitate to pay a high price if it yields an impact player through trades.
Below, we take a look at how the team was assembled.
Jeff Luhnow, general manager
When acquired: Prior to the 2012 season
How acquired: Luhnow was hired by the Astros after he left his role working in scouting and player development with the St. Louis Cardinals.
2017 salary: Unknown
Contract: Unknown, but he did sign a contract extension sometime in 2014. Luhnow is now one of the top 10 longest-tenured general managers in baseball.
One thing to know: Luhnow worked as an engineer and management consultant for years before making the switch to baseball. With the Cardinals, he oversaw a farm system that drafted more MLB players than any other team between 2006 and 2012.
A.J. Hinch, manager
When acquired: Prior to the 2015 season
How acquired: Hinch was hired by the Astros after outgoing manager Bo Porter went 59-79 in less than two seasons in Houston.
2017 salary: Unknown
Contract: Unknown, but we do know that Hinch signed a significant extension prior to the 2016 season. He “will be here for a while,” Astros owner Jim Crane said at the time.
One thing to know: At just 43 years old, Hinch has already been all around the game of baseball. The former catcher worked in professional scouting and player development before coming to terms with the Astros in September 2014.
Jose Altuve, second baseman
When acquired: 2007
How acquired: Amateur free agent
2017 salary: $4.5 million
Contract: 4 years, $12 million. The Astros also hold team options for 2018 and 2019, which they will almost certainly exercise.
One thing to know: At just five feet six inches, Altuve is small in stature but stands tall as one of the best players in the game. The Venezuelan just won his third batting title in the last four seasons, becoming the first player to accomplish that feat since countryman Miguel Cabrera.