Astroball

The New Way to Win It All
Narrated by: Ben Reiter
Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (846 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

The inside story of the Houston Astros, whose relentless innovation took them from the worst team in baseball to the World Series in 2017 and 2019 

“Reiter’s superb narrative of how the team got there provides powerful insights into how organizations - not just baseball clubs - work best.” (The Wall Street Journal)

Astroball picks up where Michael Lewis’s acclaimed Moneyball leaves off, telling the thrilling story of a championship team that pushed both the sport and business of baseball to the next level. 

In 2014, the Astros were the worst baseball team in half a century, but just three years later they defied critics to win a stunning World Series. In this book, Ben Reiter shows how the Astros built a system that avoided the stats-versus-scouts divide by giving the human factor a key role in their decision-making. 

Sitting at the nexus of sports, business, and innovation, Astroball is the story of the next wave of thinking in baseball and beyond, at once a remarkable underdog tale and a fascinating look at the cutting edge of evaluating and optimizing human potential. 

©2018 Ben Reiter (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Reiter’s superb narrative of how the team got there provides powerful insights into how organizations - not just baseball clubs - work best.” (Wall Street Journal

"Colorful...Astroball plays like a giant crossword puzzle as pieces of the team are slotted in leading up to the franchise's historic moment." (USA Today

 
"Astroball is the baseball book of the year, essential for baseball executives at every level, accessible and fun for fans." (Star Tribune

What listeners say about Astroball

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Now a book on cheating?

Granted, that statistics and analytics are very helpful in today’s sports, what’s more helpful with the incredible talent in baseball is cheating, stealing signals, which improves chances of winning, especially at the highest levels of sports

Do the Dodgers deserve to take the crown from the Astros? Boom Boom Boom goes the trash bucket

8 people found this helpful

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More About the Story than the Process

This book focuses on the individuals who made the Astro's 2017 World Series win possible. 50% of the book is focused on the general manager and the analysts. 50% of the book is focused on the baseball players. The story of these individuals is told as their backgrounds, baseball experiences, and what they contributed to the Astros are covered. This person driven narrative makes for a great story.

This book doesn't spend much time actually covering the system that the Astro's employed to ultimately win the World Series. You will learn the basic principle (pair Moneyball's statistics with the scouts intuition), but that principle isn't developed much further than that. You will hear about how this principle was applied each time a major player was signed or developed as an Astro's player, so you do get a sense for how it improved the Astros.

This is a great book about people and their achievements. I'd recommend listening to this book in a handful of long sessions.

4 people found this helpful

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The future of baseball has begun!

If you are an Astros fan, this is a must listen. Astroball is a fantastic narrative of the Astros journey to become a World Series winner. For Baseball fans, this story details the next step in the evolution of our favorite sport.

1 person found this helpful

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For Baseball Fans, Houstonians, and ... Math Geeks

A peak behind the curtains of one the biggest turnarounds in recent sports history.

It hasn’t even been a year since the Astro’s seeming overnight success during the 2017 World Series and Astroball proves that it was neither an accident nor an overnight happenstance.

A must read for baseball fans, Houstonians, and ... math geeks.

1 person found this helpful

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Data Science + (extra magic) = 2017 World Champs*

Very informative about the impact of Data Science in professional baseball. However, hard not to cringe about the success of the Astros 2017 season given what we know now.

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So good

Loved this book. I’m actually not a huge baseball fan but after listening to the book it has totally changed my perspective and interest in baseball. It’s also got me thinking about how to apply the lessons learned in everyday life.

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Great Book!

This an amazing book, I will let my freinds know about it and I plan on reading it again.

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Great book on Astro baseball

Tremendous insight on ownership, management & chmmoradre of Astos baseball after the "killer Bs" era !!

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Moneyball 2.0: Man + Machine

Moneyball cleared the hedges for a data driven approach to baseball. Astroball took it to the next level, recognizing the limitations of data that make the man and machine approach so important.

For example, signing an expensive, 34 year old Justin Verlander late in the 2017 season flashed models red because it probably wouldn't give good value. But the models couldn't account for where team moral was from an injury to Correa and a city devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Another cool component of the process was the way Sig Mejdal and his team adjusted the scout's ratings based on their biases. Since Moneyball, controlling for human biases has emerged as an important dimension in decision making.

As the author recognized, many teams have since caught on to the Astros just as they did with the Oakland A's. A competitive edge requires novelty. Already have we begun to try to quantify clubhouse chemistry and other intangibles that are currently evaluated imperfectly by people. It's exciting to imagine what the next big feature in the process will be!

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Great Baseball Insight

This is a great book whether you are a Astros fan or one of the other 29 MLB clubs. It details the long process that it took Jeff Luhnow (the General Manager) and company to rebuild a struggling Astros club and win the World Series 5 years later.

This is a great book for MLB teams that are going through a rebuild who hopes don't look good. It shows the long process of rebuilding the Astros farm system that was ranked dead last in 2010 to being the best in 2014 by the draft or trading veterans for prospects.