The Houston Astros have been one of the premier organizations in MLB during the past five seasons, cheating scandal aside.
They have been so good that their presence in the American League Championship Series has become a norm, an expectation, during the last five years.
The last five ALCS matchups:
– 2017: Astros vs Yankees
– 2018: Astros vs Red Sox
– 2019: Astros vs Yankees
– 2020: Astros vs Rays
– 2021: Astros vs Red Sox
— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) October 12, 2021
After the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays played the ALCS in 2016, the Astros have been present in each and every one of the last five editions.
Houston Has Remained An Elite Team For Years
That’s not a product of luck, or cheating (they only implemented the scheme in 2017): the fact that Houston planned for years to have a strong core that let the franchise fight for championships should be highlighted.
Reaching the ALCS is no piece of cake, so imagine doing it for five straight years.
In the 2017 edition, they eliminated the New York Yankees in a very close, hotly contested series.
That year, they went on to win the World Series by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 2018, the Boston Red Sox, arguably the best team in baseball that year, defeated the Astros in the ALCS.
Fast forward to 2020, and the Astros reached the ALCS again, but this time, they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3.
Houston had lost the first three games, but came back to tie the series 3-3.
They couldn’t complete the dramatic comeback and Tampa advanced to the Fall Classic, where they fell to the Dodgers, 4-2.
2021 was no different than the previous four, as Houston eliminated the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS, 3-1, and earned the right to play in the ALCS once again.
Their rival will be the Red Sox, who sent the Rays home, also 3-1.
Built For Sustained Success
The Astros are currently enjoying the results of great planning and constant losing.
Since losing the 2005 World Series against the White Sox, Houston didn’t advance to the postseason until 2015.
That year, they won the Wild Card Game against the Yankees but lost in the Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, the World Series champions.
But the work behind the scenes had started a long time ago.
For example, they signed Altuve as an amateur free agent in 2007.
The draft was instrumental in building the Astros’ current core.
Correa led the Astros in Wins Above Replacement in 2021, with 5.8.
Tucker hit .294/.359/.557 with 30 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 2021, and has blossomed into a middle-of-the-order masher for Houston.
Of course excited by #Mariners 2021 success & 90 W’s.📈
AL West Division Title is 2022 goal
But don’t think HOU just going away…
Kyle Tucker, OF, age 24
2021 = 5.7
Career = 7.6
HOU has “home-grown” talent & excellent Player Dev process.
— Fastballs&Curves (@TomSeaver41) October 5, 2021
Yes, the Astros have been good on the field, but their success can also be attributed to their work in the front office.