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The Investment Portfolio Approach That Made the Astros Champions

Ben Reiter's vivid new book, Astroball, shows how Houston’s turnaround wasn’t such a moonshot after all.

relates to The Investment Portfolio Approach That Made the Astros Champions

Illustration: Jing Wei for Bloomberg Businessweek.

As even casual fans are by now aware, Moneyball, the 2003 best-seller by Michael Lewis, changed the way baseball teams work. By explaining how the Oakland Athletics were using statistical analysis to win games at a fraction of the payroll costs of their rivals, the book forced other teams to grudgingly begin hiring pointy-headed Ivy Leaguers to work alongside the pot-bellied baseball lifers who’d long ruled front offices.

Moneyball also set the template for a new type of sports book in which the focus shifts from the players on the field to the men who draft, trade, sign, and cut them. The latest entry in the genre, Astroball: The New Way to Win It All (Crown Archetype) by Ben Reiter, tells the story of how Jeff Luhnow, general manager of the Houston Astros, and his staff transformed the franchise from doormat to World Series champion.