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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

How the Astros Won the World Series Without Breaking the Bank

  • The Houston Astros World Series win came with the help of star players making under $1 million, including Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker.
  • The team has found undervalued talent on the international market.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After Yordan Alvarez’s 6th-inning, 3-run homer helped secure a 4-2 series win, the Houston Astros are World Series champions.

Astros owner Jim Crane made his fortune in the logistics industry — his Crane Worldwide brings in $1.6 billion in gross annual revenue — and now his team has become one of the most efficient spenders in baseball.

After a doldrums from 2011 to 2013 in which the Astros failed to crack a .350 winning percentage, the team shrewdly drafted and developed talent, while finding international free agents who may have been unable to realize their full market value.

They also employed underhanded tactics, developing an illegal sign-stealing method which was in place for their previous championship season in 2017.

  • Four of the team’s five leaders in innings pitched were international free agents — Christian Javier, José Urquidy, Framber Valdez, and Luis Garcia — who collected signing bonuses of $140,000 in total.
  • Because players in their first three years of team control have no ability to negotiate their salaries, many of the Astros’ top players made under $1 million including Javier, Garcia, Álvarez, Jeremy Peña, and Kyle Tucker

The team’s $192.9 million 2022 payroll was ninth-highest in MLB.

Low Scoring Ratings

The World Series averaged 11.6 million viewers through its first five games, narrowly edging 2021’s 11.3 million through the same stretch.

Both figures are among the lowest in 50 years, and a far cry from 2016’s 23.4 million average viewers, which was the best figure since 2004.

The sliding viewership hasn’t stopped the league from bringing in cash: MLB expects its 2022 revenue to eclipse $11 billion this season, besting 2019’s $10.7 billion.

With the Astros win, Jim McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” won the biggest legal payout in sports wagering history. A $3 million bet with Caesars Sportsbook placed on May 13 paid out $30 million. In all, the gambler won $75 million on the Astros off of $10 million in bets.

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