The Astros have been building this team for years.
It wasn't a painless building process, as Houston averaged 104 losses from 2011-14. But there was always a plan, a plan that inspired a certain magazine to publish a 5,000-word piece, the thesis of which was that the Houston Astros would win the 2017 World Series.
Houston's rebuild has culminated this season, as the Astros eased to the AL Central title with a 101-win season paced by MVP favorite Jose Altuve. In the playoffs, Houston went through two AL East Giants—the Yankees and the Red Sox—to make it back to the World Series for the first time since 2005, when they were swept by the White Sox.
How exactly did each member of this Astros team join the organization? Here's a player-by-player breakdown of how each player on Houston's World Series roster became an Astro.
Dallas Keuchel - The ace of this staff and 2015 Cy Young Award was drafted by the Astros in the seventh round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Arkansas. Keuchel, 29, made his major league debut in 2012 as a 24-year-old.
Justin Verlander - The likely future Hall of Famer spent the first decade of his career with the Tigers, who drafted him second overall in the 2004 draft out of Old Dominion. In Detroit, Verlander established himself as one of the league's best pitchers—in 2011, he became the first pitcher in nearly 20 years to win an MVP award—but Detroit traded him to the Astros before this year's deadline to clear salary and rebuild. In exchange for Verlander, the Astros sent minor leaguers Daz Cameron, Franklin Perez, Jake Rogers and Juan Ramirez.
Lance McCullers Jr. - McCullers Jr., still just 23 years old, was drafted in the first round (41st overall) of the 2012 draft by the Astros out of high school. He made his debut in 2015 as a 21-year-old and was named to his first All-Star team this year before injuries slowed him down in the second half.
Charlie Morton - Morton was drafted by the Braves in the third round of the 2002 draft out of high school. After stints with the Pirates and Phillies, Morton joined the Astros in free agency shortly after the end of last season.
Chris Devenski - Devenski was the player-to-be-named-later in a 2012 between the White Sox and Astros. Chicago sent two players who have yet to make the majors—Matt Heidenreich and Blair Walters—along with a player-to-be-named-later (Devenski) in exchange for Brett Myers and cash.
Ken Giles - The closer was taken in the seventh round of the 2011 draft by the Phillies out of a community college. Philadelphia traded Giles and minor leaguer Jonathan Arauz to the Astros for Brett Oberholtzer, Vince Velasquez and minor leaguers Mark Appel, Harold Arauz and Thomas Eshelman.
Luke Gregerson - The Cardinals selected Gregerson in the 28th round of the 2006 draft out of St. Xavier University. He made his major league debut with the Padres before being traded to the Athletics. Gregerson signed with the Astros as as a free agent before the 2015 season.
Will Harris - Harris was selected by the Rockies in the ninth round of the 2006 draft out of LSU. He was three times—once each by the Rockies, A's and Diamondbacks—before signing with Houston in free agency shortly after the 2014 season.
Francisco Liriano - Liriano, who is Dominican, signed as an international free agent with the Giants as a 16-year-old in 2000. He was then traded to the Twins, where he emerged as one of the league's best young pitchers, finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2006. Lirino eventually ended up with the Blue Jays, who traded him to the Astros before this year's deadline in exchange for Norichika Aoki and Teoscar Hernandez.
Collin McHugh - The Mets selected McHugh in the 18th round of the 2008 draft out of Berry College. McHugh was traded to the Rockies in 2013 for Eric Young, and the Astros picked him up after the Rockies put him on Waivers after the 2013 season.
Joe Musgrove - Musgrove was selected by the Blue Jays in the first round (46th overall) in the 2011 draft. Musgrove was part of a nine-player trade between Toronto and Houston in 2012—the Blue Jays sent Musgrove, Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, Carlos Perez, David Rollins, Asher Wojciechowski and Kevin Cosmer to Houston for J.A. Happ, David Carpenter and Brandon Lyon.
Brad Peacock - Peacock was drafted by the Nationals in the 41st round of the 2006 draft. He was traded to the A's after the 2011 season and then traded again, this time before the 2013 season, as Oakland sent him to Houston along with Chris Carter and Max Stassi in exchange for Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez.
Brian McCann - The seven-time All-Star and six-time Silver Slugger signed a big free-agent deal with the Yankees before the 2014 season. But the emergence of young catcher Gary Sanchez made McCann expendable, and New York traded McCann to the Astros for promising minor leaguers Jorge Guzman and Albert Abreu.
Evan Gattis - Gattis was selected by the Braves in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft. In 2015, Atlanta traded him and James Hoyt to the Astros for Andrew Thurman, Mike Foltynewicz and Rio Ruiz.
Juan Centeno - Centeno, who is Puerto Rican, was drafted by the Mets in the 32nd round of the 2007 draft. He made his major league debut with the Mets and had brief stints with the Brewers and and Twins before signing with the Astros as a free agent in December 2016.
Jose Altuve - The 5'6'' Venezuelan is the favorite to win the MVP this season. He signed with the Astros as a free agent in March 2007 and made his major league debut in 2011 as a 21-year-old. He's been an All-Star each of the past four seasons and has a strong case as being the best player in baseball.
Alex Bregman - The Astros picked the third baseman second overall out of LSU in the 2015 draft. Bregman made his major league debut after the All-Star break in 2016 and established himself as the everyday starter this season.
Carlos Correa - The Astros selected Correa, who is from Puerto Rico, with the first overall pick in the 2012 draft. Correa made his debut as a 20-year-old in 2015 and won the Rookie of the Year award that season.
Marwin Gonzalez - Gonzalez, who is Venezuelan, signed with the Cubs as an international free agent in 2005. After spending five years in the minors, Gonzalez was drafted by the Red Sox in the 2011 Rule 5 draft. Boston then traded Gonzalez to the Astros for minor leaguer Marco Duarte after the 2011 season.
Yuli Gurriel - Gurriel defected from Cuba in 2016 when he was 31 years old and joined the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of the Japanese Central League. He then signed a five-year deal with the Astros as a free agent last July.
Carlos Beltran - The Royals selected Beltran in the second round all the way back in 1995. The 40-year-old has played for seven teams—including a brief stint with the Astros in 2004—and most recently joined Houston as a free agent shortly after last season.
Derek Fisher - Fisher was selected by the Astros in the first round (37th overall) of the 2014 draft. He made his major league debut in June at the age of 23.
Cameron Maybin - The Tigers took Maybin with tenth overall pick of the 2005 draft. Houston signed him off waivers on Aug. 31, and the Astros are the sixth major league team Maybin has played for.
Josh Reddick - The Red Sox selected Reddick in the 17th round of the 2006 draft. He was traded twice—once from the Red Sox to the A's, then from the A's to the Astors' opponent in the World Series, the Dodgers. Houston signed Reddick in free agency before this season.
George Springer - Houston drafted Springer with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of UConn. Springer, who hit 34 home runs this year, made his debut as a 24-year-old in 2014.
In summation, the Astros drafted just six of the 25 players on the World Series roster. Nine were acquired via trade, six via traditional free agency and four signed as international free agents.