Meet the Players: Get to know the Astros

September 23rd, 2017

The Astros are headed to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2005 as they vie for the franchise's first World Series championship. Here's the skinny on the origins of the players wearing the H-Star.

• Meet the Players: Get to know the Dodgers

, 2B

Born: Maracay, Venezuela

DOB: 5/6/1990

Minors: Greeneville (Rookie), Tri-City (A-), Lexington (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA)

• Altuve's path to the Majors was improbable: the 5-foot-6 infielder was turned away in Venezuelan tryouts for every Major League team in 2006, including an Astros camp. But after returning for the next Astros tryout session, he impressed evaluators and eventually signed for a $15,000 signing bonus.

Altuve has a big fan in actor Matt Damon.

"That's big," Altuve said when told of Damon's admiration for him. "I love his movies. I think it's because I'm [5-foot-6]. You don't see that very often."

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, OF

Born: Manati, Puerto Rico

DOB: 4/24/1977

HS: Fernando Callejo, Manati (P.R.)

Minors: GCL Royals (Rookie), Lansing (A-), Spokane (SS), Wilmington (A+), Wichita (AA), GCL Royals (Rookie), Omaha (AAA)

• Beltran has enjoyed a storied career that includes nine National League All-Star selections, three NL Gold Glove Awards, two NL Silver Slugger Awards and an American League Rookie of the Year Award. But despite the Gold Glove Awards, Astros teammates held a "funeral" for his glove earlier this season in the Minute Maid Park outfield because he had been the designated hitter for much of the season. It was complete with foam headstones and wearing some type of robe for the ceremony.

"They're just having fun with it," Beltran said. "I don't know if [his glove] is retired or not. I bring my glove every day to practice."

If he didn't play professional baseball, Beltran says he would have become a veterinarian. In fact, Beltran has two toy poodles, Toy and Zion, and he once had a pet monkey, a bonnet macaque named Mikaela. In September, he donated $1 million to support the victims of Hurricane Maria.

, 3B

Born: Albuquerque, N.M.

DOB: 3/30/1994

HS: Albuquerque Academy

College: Louisiana State University

Minors: Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)

• Bregman wears No. 2 because his favorite player growing up was Derek Jeter. Coincidentally, Bregman was drafted No. 2 overall in 2015. He told teams he would play collegiately at LSU if he wasn't drafted in the first round out of high school. The Red Sox drafted him in the 29th round, so he went to college. As a freshman at LSU, Bregman wore No. 30 to represent the number of Major League teams that passed on him in the first round of the Draft.

Wearing No. 2 for the Astros, Bregman hit a grand slam against the Yankees on May 14, which was also "Derek Jeter Day" at Yankee Stadium, with New York retiring Jeter's number.

, SS

Born: Ponce, Puerto Rico

DOB: 9/22/1994

HS: Puerto Rico Baseball Academy

Minors: Greeneville (Rookie), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)

• As the No. 1 overall pick in 2012, Correa became the highest drafted player ever out of Puerto Rico, besting , whom the Astros selected 17th overall in the 1994 Draft. Before hitting it big with Correa, the Astros passed on Jeter the last time they held the No. 1. While Correa has always stood out on the playing field, he also excelled in the classroom. He had a 4.0 grade point average in high school to graduate as valedictorian of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, where he was named a Rawlings First-Team All-American as a senior. And when he was 12 years old, he told his parents he would need to learn English because he was going to play in the big leagues. He became proficient quickly en route to achieving that goal. Correa also owns a dog called Groot, named for the extraterrestrial being from "Guardians of the Galaxy."


Born: Cerritos, Calif.

DOB: 11/13/1990

HS: Gahr (Calif.) High School

College: California State University Fullerton

Minors: Great Falls (Rookie), Kannapolis (A), Lexington (A), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA)

• Devenski got the nickname "Dragon" during a start with Corpus Christi in 2015. He was laboring in a start, and his manager Rodney Linares told him to unleash the dragon during a mound visit. Devenski proceeded to strike out a batter on a 3-2 pitch to escape a jam. The name has stuck ever since and Devenski now travels with a green, fire-breathing dragon toy that he keeps in his locker. In June of this year, the Astros had a bobblehead giveaway featuring Devenski riding a dragon from the popular HBO show "Game of Thrones."

Another nickname emerged for Devenski. "Devo" is also the name of the popular new wave band from back in the day with a hat called an "energy dome" as part of its stage outfit. Fans began wearing energy domes at Minute Maid Park in honor of Devenski.

, OF

Born: Lebanon, Pa.

DOB: 8/21/1993

HS: Cedar Crest (Pa.) High School

College: University of Virginia

Minors: GCL Astros (Rookie), Tri-City (A-), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)

• Fisher made his big league debut on June 14 and launched a solo home run for his first hit in the sixth inning. He added an RBI single later that same inning to become the first MLB player to record his first two career hits in the same inning since Adam LaRoche with the Braves on April 7, 2004. Fisher gave his home run ball to his father, Jim.

Evan Gattis, DH

Born: Dallas

DOB: 8/18/1986

HS: Bishop Lynch (Texas) High School

College: University of Texas-Permian Basin

Minors: Danville (Rookie), Rome (A), Gulf Coast League Braves (Rookie), Lynchburg (A+), Mississippi (AA), Gwinnett (AAA)

• Gattis took an unorthodox path to Major League success. Growing up in Texas, he was one of the premier amateur players in the Dallas area, playing alongside . Gattis bypassed a scholarship to play baseball at Texas A&M and was out of the game from 2007-10. In that time, he worked a variety of odd jobs, including valet, janitor, cook, waiter and ski-lift operator. Gattis lived in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and California in the back of his green 1995 Dodge truck. Gattis eventually got back into college ball, was drafted by the Braves and debuted with Atlanta in 2013.


Born: Albuquerque, N.M.

DOB: 9/20/1990

HS: Rio Grande (N.M.) High School

College: Yavapai College

Minors: GCL Phillies (Rookie), Lakewood (A), Clearwater (A+), Reading (AA), Lehigh Valley (AAA)

• As a rookie with the Phillies in 2014, Giles pitched an inning as part of a combined no-hitter against the Braves. Over the next year and a half, he settled in as the Phillies' closer before being dealt to Houston after the '15 season. Giles got married and went on a honeymoon that November, a few weeks before being traded. His wife, Estela Pinon, pitched for two years at the University of Arizona and was drafted and played with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch League. But with the nickname "100 Miles Giles," he still has the fastest pitch in his household.


Born: Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela

DOB: 3/14/1989

Minors: Arizona Cubs (Rookie), Boise (A-), Peoria (A), Daytona (A+), Tennessee (AA), Iowa (AAA), Oklahoma City (AAA)

• Gonzalez debuted with the Astros in 2012 and went on to set a Major League record by hitting his first 25 career home runs with no one on base. He has played every position besides pitcher and catcher for the Astros. This year, Gonzalez joined Mark DeRosa (2008) as the only players in MLB history to have a 30-double, 20-homer season while playing at least one game at first, second, third, shortstop, left field and right field.

Gonzalez delivered a big defensive play for the Astros in ALCS Game 1, throwing out Greg Bird at the plate in the fifth inning with a Statcast-projected 97.4 mph rocket from left field. Just hours later, Gonzalez's wife delivered the couple's third child, Blake, at 12:52 a.m. CT.

Luke Gregerson, RHP

Born: Park Ridge, Ill.

DOB: 5/14/1984

HS: Morton High School (Ill.)

College: St. Xavier University

Minors: Johnson City (Rookie), State College (A-), Palm Beach (A+), Springfield (AA), Tucson (AAA)

• Gregerson was not drafted out of high school, and even after pitching in college, he planned on becoming a lawyer and took an admissions test for law school. But it was his father, Duke, who inspired him to continue chasing his dreams of reaching the big leagues. In fact, Duke Gregerson played in more than 5,000 16-inch softball games and was inducted into the softball Hall of Fame last year. Gregerson pitched for Team USA in this year's World Baseball Classic, but his father died three weeks after rosters were announced. Gregerson honored his father at the 2017 WBC by wearing his famed softball uniform number, No. 18.

Yuli Gurriel, 1B

Born: Sancti Spiritus, Cuba

DOB: 6/9/1984

Minors: GCL Astros (Rookie), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)

• In Cuba, Gurriel was part of baseball royalty. His father, Lourdes Sr., is one of the country's most beloved athletes and played for the national team for 15 years and won a gold medal, two batting titles and an MVP award in Cuba. This year, Gurriel has made a name for himself with his performance and a fun hairstyle, which the Astros have marketed with rally wigs.

Before an Astros home game earlier this season, a 10-year-old fan named Manuel Mendez was wearing a Gurriel jersey and a wig featuring Gurriel's signature hairstyle. Gurriel called him over during batting practice to sign an autograph and take some photos with his "mini-me."

Will Harris, RHP

Born: Houston

DOB: 8/28/1984

HS: Slidell High School (La.)

College: Louisiana State University

Minors: Tri-City (A-), Asheville (A), Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA), Reno (AAA)

• Before he was an All-Star reliever with the Astros, Harris sparkled as a position player at LSU. In college, he started at first base as a sophomore and junior before starting at third as a senior. As a freshman, he and older brother Clay became the first brothers to start a game for LSU since Albert and Terry Belle in 1987. Harris pitched 22 innings in college, and has pitched over 275 innings in MLB.


Born: Tulsa, Okla.

DOB: 1/1/1988

HS: Bishop Kelley (Okla.) High School

College: University of Arkansas

Minors: Tri City (A-), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christie (AA), Oklahoma City (AAA)

• Keuchel began growing a bit of a beard during the 2013 season, but it was the summer of '14 when his beard reached legendary status. He says he's no longer in love with the beard, but while keeping it can be a task at times, he's doing so because it's become his identity in MLB.

Keuchel wears uniform No. 60, but when he was in the Minors, he was actually No. 57. That was given to him by former longtime Minor League equipment manager Paul Burgess, who had two favorite players who answered to "D.K." -- late pitcher Darryl Kile and Keuchel. The No. 57 has been unofficially retired by the Astros' support staff, many of whom were close to Kile. Without any affinity to a particular number, Keuchel, when called up for the first time, asked the Astros to pick for him -- and they came up with 60.


Born: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic

DOB: 10/26/1983

HS: Americo Pere (San Cristobal, D.R.) High School

Minors: AZL Giants (R), Salem-Keizer (A-), Hagerstown (A), San Jose (A+), Fort Myers (A+), New Britain (AA), Rochester (AAA)

• Liriano holds the rare distinction of having twice been named the Comeback Player of the Year -- for the AL in 2010 and the NL in '13. He was signed by the Giants as an international free agent in 2000 and was later traded to the Twins for closer and catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Liriano has also pitched for the Pirates, Blue Jays and White Sox and he's been moved at the non-waiver Trade Deadline three times.

, OF

Born: Asheville, N.C.

DOB: 4/4/1987

HS: T.C. Roberson (N.C) High School

Minors: GCL Tigers (Rookie), West Michigan (A), Lakeland (A+), Erie (AA), Carolina (AA), New Orleans (AAA)

• Maybin debuted with the Tigers at 20 in 2007 as the second-youngest player in MLB. He began the year in Class A, was promoted to Double-A that August, hit four homers in his first six games and was called up to the Majors. In his second career game, Maybin homered off Roger Clemens at Yankee Stadium. He comes from an athletic family, with cousins who played in the NFL (Aaron Maybin and Jalen Reeves-Maybin), the NBA (Rashad McCants) and the WNBA (Rashanda McCants).

"It got competitive really fast," Maybin said. "Now that we're older, we talk about it -- 'This is crazy.' This family has so many good athletes."

Brian McCann, C

Born: Athens, Ga.

DOB: 2/20/1984

HS: Duluth (Ga.) High School

Minors: GCL Braves (Rookie), Rome (A-), Myrtle Beach (A+), Mississippi (AA), Gwinnett (AAA)

• McCann grew up in Georgia as a Braves fan. When his hometown team drafted him in the second round in 2002, McCann got to play alongside some of his idols. He credits Chipper Jones for teaching him how to hit at the Major League level. McCann has hit 15 home runs or more in every season since 2006, the only MLB catcher in that time to do so. He comes from a baseball family. McCann's older brother, Brad, played first base for the Marlins and the Royals. His father, Howard, is a former collegiate coach at Marshall University and ran a baseball academy in suburban Atlanta, one that Rockies outfielder and NL Most Valuable Player Award candidate Charlie Blackmon attended during high school.


Born: Tampa, Fla.

DOB: 10/2/1993

HS: Jesuit (Fla.) High School

Minors: Greeneville (Rookie), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA)

• McCullers was selected to his first All-Star Game this year. At 23 he became the second-youngest pitcher in Astros history to make an All-Star team, behind Larry Dierker, who was 22 in his 1969 All-Star season. His father, Lance Sr., pitched seven seasons in the Majors from 1985-90 and '92.

After the Astros won the AL pennant, Houston rapper Paul Wall offered the team free grillz via Twitter, and McCullers responded on the same day that he and teammates wanted one:


Born: Naperville, Ill.

DOB: 6/19/1987

HS: Providence Christian Academy (Ga.)

College: Berry College

Minors: Kingsport (Rookie), Brooklyn (A-), Savannah (A), St. Lucie (A+), Binghamton (AA), Buffalo (AAA), Las Vegas (AAA), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA), Oklahoma City (AAA)

• McHugh is the first player in Berry College history to reach the Majors. Following his sophomore year in college, he pitched for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League and was teammates with Keuchel. He has been writing sporadically for his blog, "A Day Older, a Day Wiser" since 2008, and also plays guitar, saxophone, bass clarinet, drums and ukulele.

Charlie Morton, RHP

Born: Flemington, N.J.

DOB: 11/12/1983

HS: Joel Barlow (Conn.) High School

Minors: GCL Braves (R), Danville (R), Rome (A), Myrtle Beach (A+), Mississippi (AA), Richmond (AAA), Gwinnett (AAA), Indianapolis (AAA)

• Morton, who is the only player drafted from his high school in Redding, Conn., was an unlikely hero in Game 7 of the NLCS, tossing five shutout innings to earn the win. He has earned the nickname "Ground Chuck" for his tendency to induce ground balls.

Joe Musgrove, RHP

Born: El Cajon, Calif.

DOB: 12/4/1992

HS: Grossmont (Calif.) High School

Minors: Bluefield (Rookie), GCL Blue Jays (Rookie), Greeneville (Rookie), GCL Astros (Rookie), Tri-City (A-), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)

• Musgrove wore a patch with his father's name on it during Players Weekend earlier this year. Mark Musgrove was a San Diego cop for two decades and became ill with an autoimmune deficiency that paralyzed him from the neck down for almost two years when Joe was 15. Mark, who is now doing much better, was the one who instilled a love of baseball in Joe when he was a boy.

"I had to mature at a much younger age and step up and be the man of the house and live the way he lived and look after my sisters [Marisa and Tara] and my mom," Musgrove said. "I think he did a good job of showing me what it means to be a man. Being put in that position at 15 ended up being really good for me."

Brad Peacock, RHP

Born: Palm Beach, Fla.

DOB: 2/2/1988

HS: Palm Beach Central High School

College: Palm Beach State Community College

Minors: Vermont (A-), Hagerstown (A), Potomac (A+), Harrisburg (AA), Syracuse (AAA), Sacramento (AAA), Oklahoma City (AAA), Fresno (AAA)

• Peacock likely would not be on this stage without two dedicated parents. His mother, Jaycne, is a former softball player who taught her son to play baseball from a young age and managed his Little League team in West Palm Beach, Fla., as the first female Little League coach at Okeehelee Park. Peacock's father, Jerry, has traveled the country in both a trailer and motor home to watch all of his son's games since he retired in 2003 after serving 31 years as a firefighter and policeman.

Before his start in ALDS Game 3 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Peacock tossed a ball to his parents in the stands. Jerry says he has over 1,000 balls that Peacock has tossed to his parents over the years before big league starts.

, OF

Born: Savannah, Ga.

DOB: 2/19/1987

HS: South Effingham (Ga.) High School

College: Middle Georgia College

Minors: Greenville (A), Lancaster (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)

• Reddick is no stranger to the postseason, having reached the playoffs in five of the last six seasons with the A's, Dodgers and Astros. Reddick is an avid fan of professional wrestling and the WWE -- his favorite pro wrestler is Triple H -- and in his first season in Houston, he's started a tradition of presenting an orange leather Astros wrestling championship belt to the team's player of the game following each win. When he returned this season to Oakland, the A's played his old walk-up song, "Careless Whisper," to play homage to his five seasons with the club.

, OF

Born: New Britain, Conn.

DOB: 9/19/1989

HS: Avon Old Farms (Conn.) High School

College: University of Connecticut

Minors: Tri-City (A-), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Oklahoma City (AAA)

• Springer was selected by the Astros with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, becoming the highest drafted UConn player in school history. His two sisters played college softball -- one at Ohio State and the other at Central Connecticut. His mother, Laura, is a former gymnast and he took gymnastics lessons until he was 12 years old and can still do a back flip. His father, George II, played in the 1976 Little League World Series. Both of Springer's parents also attended UConn. Springer speaks with a stutter and was named the spokesperson for the Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) in 2014. This season, Springer set an Astros franchise record with nine leadoff home runs.


Born: Manakin-Sabot, Va.

DOB: 2/20/1983

HS: Goochland (Va.) High School

College: Old Dominion University

Minors: Lakeland (A+), Erie (AA)

• Verlander was traded from the Tigers to the Astros minutes before the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline, and he says his fiancée, model Kate Upton, helped make the decision to waive his no-trade clause and move to Houston. In coming to the Astros, Verlander joined an organization whose front office includes Nolan Ryan (executive advisor), Verlander's idol while growing up.

"You couldn't get me to sit still for anything," Verlander said. "But if a Nolan Ryan game, classic game or anything like that came on TV, I was glued to the TV for however long he was pitching, which was often pretty long."

Verlander has been selected to six All-Star Games, and in 2011 he became the 10th pitcher in MLB history to win both the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards during the same season.