Astros sending 7 affiliates to postseason
HOUSTON -- In a season marked by enshrining No. 7 Craig Biggio into the Hall of Fame, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow wasn't exactly heaping more praise on the franchise's most prized player Thursday when he tweeted 12 "7" emojis in the shape of the No. 7 -- a tribute to the organization's seven Minor League affiliates who have clinched postseason berths.
Luhnow didn't plan the tweet beforehand -- how could he have adequately predicted this entire run, from Minor League to Major League success, to begin with -- but when the Tri-City Valley Cats won in extra innings, he thought of the not so subtle way to show his excitement.
"Not really," Luhnow said when asked if the magnitude of success had resonated with him yet. "I think when we look back after this year's done, with the success we've had and hopefully will continue to have here in Houston ... to reflect on the fact that all of the teams that play under the lights played in the postseason and a lot of our players took steps forward in our development -- this could be an incredible year for us and set us up for success for many years to come."
Class A Short-Season Tri-City joins Double-A Corpus Christi, Triple-A Fresno, Class A Advanced Lancaster, Class A Quad Cities, the Dominican Summer League Astros and the Greeneville Astros in the playoffs of their respective leagues.
Astros director of player development Quinton McCracken said he's heard of five or six teams reaching the postseason within one organization, but this result was even a bit surprising to him.
"The number one objective is developing the talent, and hopefully you have the chance to win and develop during that process," McCracken said. "To combine both of them and to do it in the fashion in which we've done it this past year -- we were pretty aggressive in moving guys throughout the system -- is a testament to the scouting for getting us good talent, a testament to the players for buying into the programs and the systems and doing the work to get better and develop the skill sets."
Luhnow echoed McCracken, emphasizing the rapid rate at which the Astros have graduated players this season. Headlined by Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, Vincent Velasquez and Preston Tucker's in-season promotions to the Major Leagues, the organization has not shied away from moving players midseason.
Still, though, the teams kept winning, putting a bit of pressure on Astros manager A.J. Hinch.
"I've never been a part of an organization with that kind of successful depth. I like that these kids are learning how to win, they expect to win, they're doing things that are going to make us proud down the line," Hinch said. "I don't want to be the only team not to make the playoffs, that's for sure."