Baseball organizations normally have some kind of philosophy they follow in building their teams. Some lean heavily on internal development. Some lean heavily on trades. Some lean heavily on going the free agent route to bring in key pieces.
Especially when it comes to the key pieces’ part, the Astros’ organization seems to be of two minds. The pitching? Key pieces are almost all from external sources. The offense, especially the critical core? Mostly from internal sources. But is it that simple? Let’s take a quick look at this year’s team and discuss…
Internal. The following players have not known any other organization (and its quite impressive) – Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel, Tyler White, Tony Kemp, Derek Fisher, Myles Straw, Garrett Stubbs and Jack Mayfield. Gurriel probably belongs in a different category as he was a fairly complete player when he signed out of Cuba at 32 y.o. Alvarez signed out of Cuba with the Dodgers but never played a game in their organization.
Outside. Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick and Robinson Chirinos (by free agency), Jake Marisnick and Max Stassi (by trade). It should be noted that Stassi never played in the majors with his former team (A’s) and Marisnick only 54 games (Marlins).
Outside. Justin Verlander, Gerritt Cole, Brad Peacock, Ryan Pressly, Roberto Osuna, Chris Devenski (by trade), Wade Miley, Hector Rondon, Joe Smith (by free agency), Collin McHugh and Will Harris (signed off waivers)
Discussion. Overall, the everyday players are very much the result of organizational development. It helps when you have a first overall pick like Correa, a second overall like Bregman and a mid-first rounder like Springer (by the previous regime). But they have also used their international strength to trade for Alvarez and to sign Gurriel right out of Cuba and again inherited Jose Altuve.
The pitching looks like an argument for the Astros inability to develop their young pitching as the “Internal” guys have barely managed a blip on the radar, while all the external guys have carried the weight. But it should be remembered that McHugh and Harris were dropped by their previous organizations, but became critical components over the last few seasons here. Devo was a player to be named later. Peacock spent a good bit of time developing into a valuable tool after coming here from the A’s. Verlander, Cole and Pressly all pitched better here than the season before they came here. Miley has turned into a second or third starter for the Astros. Maybe these guys are not “Internal” guys, but the organization has gone and gotten guys that had high spin rates or who they thought they could tweak on pitch selection and “develop” into better pitchers.
Bottom line the Astros still have something to prove on developing their own pitching, but they have proven a lot in grabbing and developing other people’s pitching.