Webster's defines the word "dynasty" as the following: "a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics, or another field." In the real world, it's a fairly cut and dry definition, shaped largely by bloodline. In sports, the definition of "dynasty" us a bit more subjective and complicated. Just know that if you're debating whether or not one of your favorite teams is indeed a "dynasty," you're in a good place.
In sports, the cover charge to get inside the velvet rope of "dynast" debate seems to be not just one world title, but winning a second one, as well. So, Astro fans, welcome to the great "dynasty" debate nightclub. Please be sure to tip your waiters and waitresses!
To be clear, aside from Dusty Baker finally winning a title as a manager, after thousands of wins and nearly three decades as a skipper for five different franchises, the next biggest storyline on Saturday night was the dynastic qualities of this Astros team. Every member of the team who had been here for both titles seemingly was asked about it, and every single one quote I heard on the topic left it up to us to decide.
So let's do it! Here are three big reasons why this Astros team is indeed a modern day Major League Baseball dynasty, aside from the two titles, four World Series appearances, and six AlCS trips since 2017:
3. The only thing that could stop their regular season dominance was a pandemic.
In 2020, MLB had to put on a shortened regular season, 60 games total, because of COVID hitting during spring training. As a result, the Astros had to sneak into a mega-expanded playoff field with a 29-31 regular season record. Thankfully, they worked out their regular season issues long enough to come within a game of the 2020 World Series. My point here is this — remove the janky COVID season, and in the five COMPLETE seasons since 2017, the Astros have averaged 102 wins in the regular season, and they've won their division by an average of 12 games.
2. They have withstood the departures of one of, if not THE top free agent every offseason since 2018.
In the modern day of free agency, organizational depth, both at the MLB level and in the minors (more on the minors in a second) is absolutely essential. Consider that the Astros have lost at least one marquee free agent every off season since the post-2018 offseason. It goes as follows:
Post-2018: CHARLIE MORTON
Post-2019: GERRIT COLE
Post-2020: GEORGE SPRINGER
Post-2021: CARLOS CORREA
This coming offseason, it could be Justin Verlander. The Astros lose MONSTERS every offseason, and just keep humming along, and mark my words — if Verlander leaves for greener pastures (the "green" being money), the Astros will still be the favorite to win the American League in 2023. THAT'S a dynasty.
1. The Astros' farm system keeps churning out reinforcements annually.
We talked about depth of the big league roster in the previous bullet point. Now, how about the depth of the minor league system. Since 2014, the Astros have seen at least one IMPACT rookie emerge onto the scene each season. It gores like this:
2014: GEORGE SPRINGER
2015: CARLOS CORREA
2016: ALEX BREGMAN
2017: YULI GURRIEL
2018: KYLE TUCKER
2019: YORDAN ALVAREZ
2020: CRISTIAN JAVIER
2021: LUIS GARCIA
2022: JEREMY PENA
What a list! That list includes two Rookies of the Year (Correa, Alvarez), one runner up (Garcia), five future All Stars, and a rookie this season who won the ALCS and World Series MVP awards. Also, nowhere to be found on that list, but other homegrown guys who would eventually be as impactful as most on that list — Lance McCullers, Framber Valdez, and Jose Urquidy. Hell, throw Chas McCormick and Bryan Abreu in there, as well! HUNTER BROWN, you’re next!
It's a dynasty already, and I think you can see — this train won't stop for a long, long period of time. It's great to be an Astros fan!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.