MLB iron on transfers1,Core talent putting Astros over the top

  • Major League Baseball is a different animal when it comes to tanking -- losing badly enough to reap the benefits of being bad. Draft picks don't come straight to the big leagues the way they do in the NBA and NFL, and it's often years between when an amateur is signed and when he makes a significant big league impact. You need to score in the draft and in the international amateur markets over a sustained period of time to go from the bottom to the top, but the Houston Astros have done just that and are beginning to reap the benefits of their labor.

    A little over five years since Jeff Luhnow -- who had successfully merged traditional scouting and cutting-edge analytics as scouting director with the St. Louis Cardinals iron on transfers -- took over as general manager, the Astros are running roughshod over the American League. They're also doing it with youth, both in the majors and the minors. If they need a major league piece, they can dip into their minor league wealth without batting an eye. Their crown jewels are second baseman Jose Altuve, outfielder George Springer, shortstop Carlos Correa and right-handed starter Lance McCullers Jr. These players were acquired in different ways, showcasing many of the things that must be done to have a successful teardown and rebuild.