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  • How did the Astros go from baseball's laughing stock to World Series champions? Ben Reiter's new book takes you through every step.
By Ben Reiter
April 18, 2018

When Sports Illustrated declared on its cover in June of 2014 that the Houston Astros would be YOUR 2017 WORLD SERIES CHAMPS, it seemed to most observers to be a wildly far-fetched prediction on the part of the story’s author, senior writer Ben Reiter. Back then, the Astros were the worst baseball team in half a century.

You know what happened next.

Now, SI is proud to exclusively announce Astroball: The New Way to Win It All, Reiter’s upcoming book that will reveal the pioneering strategies the club’s executives and players used to make the improbable a reality, and to turn a laughingstock into a champion.

Astroball will be released by Crown Archetype, an imprint of Penguin Random House’s Crown Publishing Group, on July 10, 2018. Astroball is now available for pre-order from your favorite online retailer here.

The book is a taut, character-driven account of how the Astros made Reiter’s prediction come true. They did it by creating and taking advantage of analytical tools that went far beyond what the Oakland A’s and Billy Beane had in Moneyball, but also by recognizing the importance of a recently discarded source of information and reintegrating it into their decision making: human beings, with their unreliable but useful gut instincts.

Reiter tells the riveting stories of key figures like Jeff Luhnow, Sig Mejdal, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Dallas Keuchel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Beltran, Justin Verlander, and even J.D. Martinez—the Astros’ most disastrous mistake—to show how the club’s process might not just represent the future of baseball, but of many industries that are grappling with how to succeed in a world that is inundated by data. In fact, the Astros might be seen as a model of how humans and computers can bring the best out of each other—as long as humans remain in charge.

As one early reviewer writes, “Astroball is Moneyball for the next generation, not just the baseball book of the year, but the business and ideas book of the year as well.”

Says the publisher: “Sitting at the nexus of sports, business, and ideas—and written with years of access to the team’s stars and executives—Astroball is the story of the next wave of thinking in baseball and beyond, at once a remarkable underdog story and a fascinating look at the cutting edge of evaluating and optimizing human potential.”

Ben Reiter is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, which he joined in 2004. He has written twenty-three cover stories for the magazine.

Pre-order Astroball here.

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