The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Are we seeing a new MLB dynasty team?

If you saw the following season records for an MLB team, without an identification of what years were involved or who the team was, who would you say it was?

Season 1 – First place in division, Won WS

Season 2 – First place in division, Lost ALCS

Season 3 – First place in division, Lost WS

Season 4 – Second place in division, Lost ALCS

Season 5 – First place in division, Lost WS

Season 6 – First place in division, Won WS

If you’re thinking the Yankees (1996-2003), Atlanta Braves (1991-1999), Los Angeles Dodgers (2016-2021), or San Francisco Giants (2010-2014), you’d be wrong.

It’s the Houston Astros, the latest franchise to stake its claim as a “dynasty” team. With their victory over the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series, they are making their seventh straight appearance in the League Championship Series.

The Astros were one of the first teams to do a complete makeover of the roster from 2011 to 2014. I think they even surprised themselves when they made the playoffs in 2015—it was a year ahead of their makeover schedule.

In the rebuilt roster, Houston’s front office came up with their own version of the “Core Four” (like the Yankees of the mid-1990s through the 2000s.) with Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, George Springer and Carlos Correa, all of whom carried the team offensively from 2017 through 2020.

Springer and Correa bolted for free agency in 2021 and 2022, respectively; yet the Astros replaced them with equal or better talent in Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Jose Pena. So the Astros have benefitted from lineup consistency over those years. And the impressive part of this situation is that these were all home-grown players from the Astros farm system.

From a pitching standpoint, their farm system has also produced a corps of young starters that has served them well, including Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy, Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. They were supplemented with free-agent veterans like Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Gerrit Cole.

And the good news about most of their players, both pitchers and position players, is that they are under team control for the next 2-3 years. So we could see a continuation of their success during the next few years.

The other factor going for the Astros has been Dusty Baker. He’s another big reason for the team’s consistency. He was just what the Astros needed –a steady hand--following their sign-stealing scandal. However, he’s 74 years old, so it’s not certain how much more time he will spend in the dugout. If the Astros were to win the World Series again this year, I could see Baker riding off into the sunset after the season, with a pretty certain case for a plaque in the Hall of Fame.

I realize the term “dynasty team” is often used carelessly. There really isn’t a commonly accepted definition. While the aforementioned Braves and Dodgers won a string of division titles, they didn’t win a commensurate number of World Series rings. The Bronx Bombers and Big Red Machine are more readily acknowledged as dynasty teams. Maybe the Astros aren’t in the same club just yet, but would they be with a couple more World Series championships?

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