Sean Pendergast

Houston Astros Have Dominated the MLB All Star Game Since 2017

Justin Verlander has the All Star team every time he's played a full season as an Astro.
Justin Verlander has the All Star team every time he's played a full season as an Astro. Photo by Jack Gorman
The Houston Astros of the last five years have generated one of the most dominant multi-year windows in MLB history, averaging over 101 wins in the four non-COVID seasons since 2017. This year, they're on pace for another 107 wins. It's been THE most dominant run for any sports team in the history of this city. On either of these takes, there can be no debate.

So, here in Houston, we don't have to hash out the greatness of the Astros. We know they're great. Instead,  we just sit around and find measurements and accomplishments that remind the world that the Astros are not be messed with, and that it has been that way for a while and will be that way for the foreseeable future. Win totals are one way to do that, but tabulating the team's representation at the MLB All Star Game is certainly another way.

This past weekend, as we outlined on Monday, we got confirmation that five more Houston Astros would be headed to the Midsummer Classic — Jose Altuve (starting at second base for the fifth time in his career), outfielder/DH Yordan Alvarez, outfielder Kyle Tucker, and starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez.

Those five selections give the Astros an MLB-leading 27 All Star selections since 2017, the beginning of the Astros' run as the best run franchise in the sport. The next closest team is the Los Angeles Dodgers (and their astronomical payroll) with 19 All Star selections. Here is the year by year breakdown:
2017 (6 selections): 2B Jose Altuve, OF George Springer, SS Carlos Correa, RP Chris Devenski, SP Dallas Kuechel, SP Lance McCullers

2018 (6 selections): 2B Jose Altuve, 3B Alex Bregman, OF George Springer, SP Gerrit Cole, SP Charlie Morton, SP Justin Verlander

2019 (6 selections): OF George Springer, 3B Alex Bregman, OF Michael Brantley, SP Justin Verlander, SP Gerrit Cole, RP Ryan Pressly

2020: COVID season, no All Star Game

2021 (4 selections): 2B Jose Altuve, SS Carlos Correa, OF Michael Brantley, RP Ryan Pressly

2022 (5 selections): 2B Jose Altuve, SP Justin Verlander, DH Yordan Alvarez, OF Kyle Tucker, SP Framber Valdez
While the raw gap in the number of All Stars between the Astros and the rest of baseball is, unto itself, very impressive, it's the makeup of the 27 All Star selections over the last five All Star Games that makes the accomplishment even more noteworthy. First, the Astros have accumulated those 27 selections across 15 different individual players, not via a half dozen stars making it every year. Here is the list by player:
Altuve - 2017, 2018, 2021, 2022
Verlander - 2018, 2019, 2022
Springer - 2017, 2018, 2019
Cole - 2018, 2019
Bregman - 2018, 2019
Brantley - 2019, 2021
Pressly - 2019, 2021
Correa - 2017, 2021
Devenski - 2017
Keuchel - 2017
McCullers - 2017
Morton - 2018
Alvarez - 2022
Tucker - 2022
Valdez - 2022
The most decorated of the bunch is Altuve, with four All Star designations. From there, Springer and Verlander both have three, and there are no other players with more than two. That's the sign of a diverse, deep roster. It's the opposite of a team like, say, the Angels, whose All Star nods are largely attributed to  just Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani over the last several years.

Next, the interesting thing about this list is that the Astros have acquired these players in any number of ways. They're not all just high draft picks taken during the tanking years of 2011 through 2014. Some are free agency signings, some came in via trade, and a few were in the system before former GM Jeff Luhnow arrived in 2011. Here is the breakdown:

Pre-Luhnow: Altuve, Keuchel, Springer
Drafted by Luhnow: Correa, McCullers, Bregman, Tucker
Traded for by Luhnow: Devenski, Verlander, Cole, Pressly, Alvarez
International signing by Luhnow: Valdez
Free Agency signing by Luhnow: Morton, Brantley

The challenge for current GM James Click will be to match the resourcefulness of Luhnow to keep the pipeline of All Stars flowing for the next several years, so that we can keep citing fun stats like these abut the dominance of our favorite baseball team.

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.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast