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Stearns thrilled for Astros, rooting for prior club

Brewers GM spent 3 years with Houston as assistant GM
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Whatever role he played in helping the Houston Astros' build toward the Fall Classic is for others to dissect. The only message Brewers GM David Stearns had Monday on the eve of Game 1 was that he is thrilled to see his former team get there.

World Series Gm 1: Tues., 7:30 p.m. ET air time | 8 ET game time on FOX

MILWAUKEE -- Whatever role he played in helping the Houston Astros' build toward the Fall Classic is for others to dissect. The only message Brewers GM David Stearns had Monday on the eve of Game 1 was that he is thrilled to see his former team get there.

World Series Gm 1: Tues., 7:30 p.m. ET air time | 8 ET game time on FOX

"I'm really happy for [Astros GM] Jeff [Luhnow] and [manager] A.J. [Hinch] and that whole group," said Stearns, who spent three years as Houston's assistant GM before becoming Major League Baseball's youngest general manager in Milwaukee in September 2015.

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"A lot of the players on the field have changed since I was there," he said, "but a lot of those front-office guys and field staff remain. So I'm certainly rooting for them."

Luhnow hired Stearns in November 2012 with the rebuilding Astros coming off consecutive 100-loss seasons. They lost 111 games in 2013, but were postseason bound by 2015 when Stearns departed for the Brewers' top job.

There were mixed feelings leaving a "mentor" in Luhnow and a team just emerging from a rebuilding period to take over a club just beginning that process, but Stearns said he had no regrets. In Milwaukee, he has employed the same data-driven approach that fueled at least the last four World Series teams; the Cubs, Indians, Astros and Dodgers are all at the forefront of the numbers movement. Like those clubs in recent years, Stearns has dramatically expanded the Brewers' analytics department, so much so that it required the construction of additional offices at Miller Park last winter.

Is the World Series presented by YouTube TV further evidence that the data works?

"I'll be honest, I think the analytics narrative is overplayed a little bit," Stearns said. "Every single team is incorporating advanced information to the decision-making processes. Because of Jeff and [Dodgers president of baseball operations] Andrew's [Friedman's] backgrounds, it probably gets labeled … but they are not getting to where they are right now if they do not have a very well-run, well-functioning, well-rounded, complete organization that relies on a number of different information sources.

"I think what last year's World Series and this year's World Series is telling us is that there are a number of really smart teams out there doing a really good job of incorporating every ounce of information available to make the best decisions possible."

Stearns has been watching a lot of playoff baseball while plotting the Brewers' offseason, including most of the Astros' games against the Red Sox in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan and the Yankees in the AL Championship Series presented by Camping World

Two years have passed, but the connections remain, so Stearns and wife Whitney will be in front of a television when the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw throws the first pitch of Game 1 on Tuesday night.

"My wife is close with Jeff's wife and A.J.'s wife, so she's invested in it," Stearns said. "You get to know people well."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers