Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Astroball: The New Way to Win It All” as Want to Read:
Astroball: The New Way to Win It All
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Astroball: The New Way to Win It All

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,257 ratings  ·  254 reviews
The definitive account of the Houston Astros' unexpected rise to win the 2017 World Series, from the Sports Illustrated writer who predicted it three years earlier

When Sports Illustrated writer Ben Reiter declared, on the cover of the magazine in 2014, that the Houston Astros would win the World Series in 2017, people thought he was crazy. The team, which had just
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by Crown Archetype
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,257 ratings  ·  254 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Astroball: The New Way to Win It All
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had this book on my mind in light of Justin Verlander’s third career no hitter pitched 9-2-19.

The 2019 baseball is about to reach its halfway point and many usual suspects are leading their division races. Until four years ago, the who’s who of baseball did not include the Houston Astros, but in 2015 the Astros started winning, and two years later the team won it all. This came as a shock to everyone outside of Houston and this book’s author who in 2014 wrote a Sports Illustrated story
Brandon Forsyth
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So here's the thing: if you start your narrative/analytic baseball book with an H.P. Lovecraft quote AND a Dr. Dre quote, I basically have no choice but to give the resulting masterpiece 5 stars.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never should have read "Astroball." First off, sports, bleh. What a waste of time. Second, Ben Reiter is one of several Yalies named Ben with whom I’ve hungout over the years and not the one I hit it off with most. But I confused him with a closer acquaintance and requested an advance copy. By the time I noticed Reiter’s suave smirk on the rear dust jacket, I’d already finished the preface and the prologue (yes, it has both, and yes, you should read both), and I couldn’t have put the book down ...more
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific read. Astroball has now arrived in Baltimore. Here's to hoping Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal will make the Orioles a champion within 5 years.
Baseball is well into a new era in which statistical data is analyzed and used for nearly every decision a team makes, from which players to draft to where to place those players on the diamond when a batter steps into the box. While the concept began in the early 2000’s with “Moneyball”, the groundbreaking book by Michael Lewis about the Oakland Athletics using this strategy, the Houston Astros dug even deeper into statistical analysis and their work paid off with a World Series championship in ...more
John Boyne
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Ben Reiter is a Sports Illustrated writer who in 2014 wrote a cover article predicting that the Astros would win the World Series in 2017. That prediction came on the heals of the 3 worst seasons in Astros' history where the team went a combined 162-324 over those 3 years. This books chronicles the Astros' journey towards that World Series victory, which was correctly predicted when they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017. The Astros were one of the first teams to fully embrace the statistical ...more
Danny Knobler
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
As a journalist, you always worry about getting too close to your subject. As a sportswriter, though, the other side of getting close is often access that gives you insight you wouldn’t otherwise have any chance at. Ben Reiter without doubt got very close to the Astros. He became a true believer. You won’t read any criticism in here. But you will learn a ton about how a team won a championship, in a story told as well as you would expect from a writer as talented as Ben. Was it worth it to get ...more
Day Yi
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Moneyball 2.0

I had the pleasure of meeting Ben (alongside Ron Darling) at the Yale Club. Being occupied as of late with my work, teaching future analytics professionals at Columbia, I wasn’t aware of this book’s existence. I am a huge baseball enthusiast and student. In many ways, I am Sig Mejdal. I analyze baseball data as a hobby and so reading Moneyball and now Astroball further validated my stance that proper analysis of any data will yield a better understanding of the situation at hand.

Aaron Fischman
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is flat-out amazing.

The depth and breadth of Ben Reiter’s reporting are on full display with “Astroball,” undoubtedly benefiting from the author’s handful of years with unparalleled access to the franchise. Because he sought out the right people (essentially anyone even remotely connected to the Astros in a number of different fields, inside and outside of the organization) and asked the right questions, the text writes itself. I say that not to disparage Reiter’s style; he writes
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting nerdy book on how the Astros won the World Series in 2017. Takes me back to the 1960's when my little brother and his friends would make up games and the outcomes from the stats on their shoeboxes of baseball cards. We have come a long way since then.
Kim Martin
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a lifelong Astros fan (I’m actually 10 years older than the franchise), my attraction to this story may reflect quite a bit of favoritism, but I am of the sincere opinion that this book is a more than worthy successor to Moneyball, and belongs among some of the most revered observations on the national pastime. It is baseball analytics squared, dipping into human emotion and inspired decision-making that goes beyond number-crunching. A recommended read for everyone who wants to understand ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was torn on this book... I couldn't figure out why it took me so long to get through despite generally enjoying it while I was reading. Some of the individual stories were riveting... JD Martinez's renaissance and Carlos Beltran's unique clubhouse skills for example. Also enjoyed the Brady Aiken saga and Correa's back story as well. But the author doesn't give an honest portrayal of Luhnow's character.... the Osuna signing isn't treated honestly by the book, and we get a strange admission ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It is sort of similar to Moneyball, but with new tactics. If you are a baseball fan, check out this book.
It was fine. It was Moneyball 2. It was the author taking a victory lap after correctly picking the Astros to win it all years before anybody guessed they’d be good. I don’t know what I expected, so I can’t say why Astroball felt like a letdown.

One thing that did deliver was the research. As the Sports Illustrated reporter who wrote a glowing cover story of the club in 2014, Ben Reiter got incredible access for this book and it shows. His writing is filled with inside stories that peel back the
Andrew C.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the story of how the 2017 World Series champions, the Houston Astros, were built. This team exemplified tanking better than Chicago Cubs or anyone else ever did. What they did has now served as a model for my favorite team, the Chicago White Sox, and several other teams currently. The Astros tanked to the extreme, purging themselves completely of any veteran players so that their roster would consist entirely of low-cost, inexperienced players during the rebuilding process. They lost ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished Astroball by Ben Reiter last night while watching the Astros beat the Angels!! It’s a fascinating look into how the Astros built a championship team! Reiter does a good job of explaining how the Astros and particularly GM Jeff Luhnow and former rocket scientist Sig Mejdal evolve the “Moneyball” process by using big data in conjunction with some personal observations about personality and other “hard to quantify” characteristics. Reiter also makes it an entertaining read with ...more
Harold Kasselman
Ben Reiter does an excellent job recounting how the Astros went from being the laughing stock of baseball into a World Champion in four years. Under the leadership of Jeff Luhnow and his primary assistants, Sig Mejdal, Mike Elias, and David Stearns the Astros front office fulfilled owner Jim Crane's dream of a world title. (and a 1.5 billion dollar franchise). By 2019 most studious baseball fans are familiar with the analytical revolution, so much of the early chapters dealing with Big Data, and ...more
Paul Olkowski
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received my winning copy of ASTROBALL by BEN REITER last Thursday evening. When I opened the protective package it was shipped in , I spent the next hour being sucked into the history and story of The Houston Astros. I was unaware of the early years of the team because of my age at the time; 3 years old , but I do remember some of the good teams they had with Nolan Ryan as their ace and many of the Astrodome years of the team.
Let me say up front that I was not an Astros fan; Far from it. I
David Hallstrom
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Astroball is what Moneyball wanted to be. A deep, incisive look at a successful baseball franchise.

Moneyball failed as it wrote off the value of the scouts. The first chapter talked about scouts as if they were dinosaurs, adding no value to the process.

Astroball gets - as does the management of the Astros - that we are talking about human beings. And all human beings have something in them that a spreadsheet cannot show.

Which process is superior? Well, the Astros have a World Series
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business-media
Astroball follows the Houston Astros as they rebuild their team around metrics and statistics as well as baseball insights to win the 2017 World Series. Ben Reiter was the sports illustrated author who wrote the article that Astros would win it all in 2017 and this book follow sup in an expanded sense on that article tracking how the “nerd cave” delved into baseball statistics and through the use of regression, big data and heuristics found a winning combination. The book is definitely for those ...more
Lynn Smith
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a huge Houston Astros fan since August 1977, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Since watching my first game in the Astrodome (the Astros came from behind to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 on back to back home runs, one of which was from Astros great Bob Watson and went all the way through the huge gap behind the center field fence) to several 100+ loss seasons in a row to a World Series win (FINALLY!) in 2017, it's been a fun ride. So is this book. It starts out with a brief history of ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, baseball
Astroball has one big difference than Moneyball, the Astros actually won something. But even the name gives away the premise, it's the sequel to Moneyball. We talk about a team that focused on statistical analysis to build a better team. The only difference is the addition of personality and leadership skills sadly missing from Moneyball. That's the only part of the book that is really standout, unique and compelling is the focus on personality which Moneyball goes to great lengths to say ...more
I kind of wish I went into the baseball business. Not playing (well, that would be cool too) but the “money ball’ side of things.

This book takes the money ball concept and goes much further. The main ‘players’ in this story attempt to quantify everything about a baseball player and use that algorithm to find the best for their building team. It takes a lot of patience and understanding as well as a huge dose of stinginess. However, not everything goes according to plan. So, we get to hear about
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this based on the reviews that it would be interesting even for those who are not into baseball at all. I can't agree with this. Reiter goes into far too much detail on player biographies, and random statistics and game details without any context. The characters aren't very memorable, and the central thesis—that the Astros managed to integrate human judgement with statistics, and that this will be a model for all sorts of organizations in the future—is largely unproved, and hardly even ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I literally love Justin Verlander" - Jose Altuve, and me. Ben Reiter takes readers to the very beginning of the Astros rebuilding beginning with the careers of Jeff Lunhow and the man behind the scenes, Sig. Along the way key players and figures join the ranks, until the epic 2017 season. With behind the scenes knowledge and first hand accounts, this is an extremely detailed and in-depth look into one of the most fascinating and dynamic sports teams around. Astroball is an excellent book for ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you love baseball, you will enjoy this book. It is the macro story of the analytics movement in baseball and it’s the micro story of the people who made it all happen in Houston, from owner to front office to players. It is clear from Reiter’s chapters on the players that he had amazing access to them, and those parts were my favorite. There are many moments of humanity here, and if you love the Astros specifically, you will finish this book with a particularly enhanced appreciation of Carlos ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll readily admit I'm biased because I'm an Astros fan, but I definitely enjoyed the walk through of how the Astros went from the "Dis-Astros" and the "Lastros" to World Series champs in less than a decade. I also enjoyed the Houston history sprinkled in, and I wish there was more of that. It would have been nice if the author would have explored some of the more technical aspects of the "Nerd Caves" algorithms and how they determined player value, but it's possible that's proprietary knowledge ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book as a lifelong Astros fan and a data nerd. Ben Reiter, the SI writer that called the Astros 2017 WS win in 2014, packs a lot into 200 pages. The book reads fast and fun and I learned a lot in the process. I’m glad my dad got to see an Astros WS win 50 years after attending the Astros first exhibition game in the Astrodome in 1965. He can thank data analytics and trust in leadership. “They have a system, and it was not an accident that it worked.”
Michael Travis
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From Moneyball to Astroball. This is a great read for any baseball fan, despite their team loyalties. The nextgen efforts in Houston are an evolution from the pioneers such as Billy Beane and Theo Epstein. This is a must read for the KC Royals leadership as they debate trades for future picks before the year closes.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet another good book I finished recently. It told the story of how the Astros went from the worst baseball team in half of the century - a national embarrassment, to win the World Series in 2017. As a Houstonian, I still can feel the hype and excitement from our journey last year. Hope we can do it few times more hehe.

It took me more time than I expected since I had to Google every single damn thing about baseball. Book was fun; but thanks, I still don't want to spend time watching a baseball
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
GFOP Readers: Astroball: The New Way to Win It All 1 6 Sep 25, 2019 07:34AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players
  • Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game
  • Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak
  • The Shift: The Next Evolution in Baseball Thinking
  • The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team
  • K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches
  • Gridiron Genius: A Master Class in Winning Championships and Building Dynasties in the NFL
  • The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse
  • Inside the Empire: The True Power Behind the New York Yankees
  • The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports
  • Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL
  • Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball
  • Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
  • For the Good of the Game: The Inside Story of the Surprising and Dramatic Transformation of Major League Baseball
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
  • The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First
  • Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up
  • Baseball Prospectus 2019
See similar books…
Ben Reiter is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, which he joined in 2004. He has written 25 cover stories for the magazine and has also contributed to Time and The Village Voice, among other publications. His SI feature 'The Seeker: The Complicated Life and Death of Hideki Irabu' won the 2017 Deadline Award for Magazine Profile. He frequently appears on radio and television stations across ...more
“Whether you sell insurance or you’re a school teacher, obviously the people you work with can make you more productive or less productive,” 1 likes
“Innovation, by definition, suggests change will be taking place,” Sig said. “If there’s change taking place, it’s not likely going to feel right. If it felt right, it would have been done a long time ago.” 1 likes
More quotes…