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Carlos Beltran, OF
Born: Manati, Puerto Rico
HS: Fernando Callejo, Manati (P.R.)
Minors: GCL Royals (Rookie), Lansing (A-), Spokane (SS), Wilmington (A+), Wichita (AA), GCL Royals (Rookie), Omaha (AAA)
• Beltran has enjoyed a storied career that includes nine NL All-Star selections, three NL Gold Glove Awards, two NL Silver Slugger Awards and an AL Rookie of the Year Award. But if he didn’t play professional baseball, Beltran says he would have become a veterinarian. In fact, Beltran has two toy poodles, Toy and Zion, and he once had a pet monkey, a bonnet macaque named Mikaela. In September, he donated $1 million to support the victims of Hurricane Maria.
Alex Bregman, 3B
Born: Albuquerque, N.M.
HS: Albuquerque Academy
College: Louisiana State University
Minors: Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)
• Bregman wears No. 2 because his favorite player growing up was Derek Jeter. Coincidentally, Bregman was drafted No. 2 overall in 2015. He told teams he would play collegiately at LSU if he wasn’t drafted in the first round out of high school. The Red Sox drafted him in the 29th round, so he went to college. As a freshman at LSU, Bregman wore No. 30 to represent the number of Major League teams that passed on him in the first round of the Draft.
Tyler Clippard, RHP
Born: Lexington, Ky.
HS: J.W. Mitchell (Fla.) High School
Minors: GCL Yankees (R), Battle Creek (A), Charleston (A), Tampa (A+), Trenton (AA), Columbus (AAA), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA), Syracuse (AAA)
• Clippard broke the news of his trade from the White Sox to the Astros on a Sunday night in August. He was watching the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones” when White Sox general manager Rick Hahn called to inform Clippard of the trade. Before the deal was announced, Clippard changed his social media profiles to reflect he was a member of the Astros. Clippard has been traded six times, and he says this was the first time he learned through a team he was dealt rather than initially hearing the news through media reports.
Carlos Correa, SS
Born: Ponce, Puerto Rico
HS: Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Minors: Greeneville (Rookie), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)
• As the No. 1 overall pick in 2012, Correa became the highest drafted player ever out of Puerto Rico, besting Ramon Castro, whom the Astros selected 17th overall in the 1994 Draft. Before hitting it big with Correa, the Astros passed on Derek Jeter the last time they held the No. 1. While Correa has always stood out on the playing field, he also excelled in the classroom. He had a 4.0 grade point average in high school to graduate as valedictorian of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, where he was named a Rawlings First-Team All-American as a senior.
Chris Devenski, RHP
Born: Cerritos, Calif.
HS: Gahr (Calif.) High School
College: California State University Fullerton
Minors: Great Falls (Rookie), Kannapolis (A), Lexington (A), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA)
• Devenski got the nickname “Dragon” during a start with Corpus Christi in 2015. He was laboring in a start, and his manager Rodney Linares told him to unleash the dragon during a mound visit. Devenski proceeded to strike out a batter on a 3-2 pitch to escape a jam. The name has stuck ever since and Devenski now travels with a green, fire-breathing dragon toy that he keeps in his locker. In June of this year, the Astros had a bobblehead giveaway featuring Devenski riding a dragon from the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones.”
Mike Fiers, RHP
Born: Hollywood, Fla.
HS: Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High School
College: Nova Southeastern University
Minors: Helena (Rookie), Wisconsin (A), Brevard County (A+), Huntsville (AA), Nashville (AAA)
• Fiers is best known for throwing a no-hitter with the Astros against the Dodgers in 2015. It was the first no-no at Minute Maid Park, which opened in 2000, and the 11th in Astros franchise history. He struck out 10 in that game. Fiers previously led the nation in strikeouts while at Nova Southeastern University in 2009, collecting 145 in just 108 2/3 innings.
Derek Fisher, OF
Born: Lebanon, Pa.
HS: Cedar Crest (Pa.) High School
College: University of Virginia
Minors: GCL Astros (Rookie), Tri-City (A-), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)
• Fisher made his big league debut on June 14 and launched a solo home run for his first hit in the sixth inning. He added an RBI single later that same inning to become the first MLB player to record his first two career hits in the same inning since Adam LaRoche with the Braves on April 7, 2004. Fisher gave his home run ball to his father, Jim.
Evan Gattis, DH
HS: Bishop Lynch (Texas) High School
College: University of Texas-Permian Basin
Minors: Danville (Rookie), Rome (A), Gulf Coast League Braves (Rookie), Lynchburg (A+), Mississippi (AA), Gwinnett (AAA)
• Gattis took an unorthodox path to Major League success. Growing up in Texas, he was one of the premier amateur players in the Dallas area, playing alongside Clayton Kershaw. Gattis bypassed a scholarship to play baseball at Texas A&M and was out of the game from 2007-10. In that time, he worked a variety of odd jobs, including valet, janitor, cook, waiter and ski-lift operator. Gattis lived in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and California in the back of his green 1995 Dodge truck. Gattis eventually got back into college ball, was drafted by the Braves and debuted with Atlanta in 2013.
Ken Giles, RHP
Born: Albuquerque, N.M.
HS: Rio Grande (N.M.) High School
College: Yavapai College
Minors: GCL Phillies (Rookie), Lakewood (A), Clearwater (A+), Reading (AA), Lehigh Valley (AAA)
• As a rookie with the Phillies in 2014, Giles pitched an inning as part of a combined no-hitter against the Braves. Over the next year and a half, he settled in as the Phillies’ closer before being dealt to Houston after the ’15 season. Giles got married and went on a honeymoon that November, a few weeks before being traded. His wife, Estela Pinon, pitched for two years at the University of Arizona and was drafted and played with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch League. But with the nickname “100 Miles Giles,” he still has the fastest pitch in his household.
Marwin Gonzalez, IF/OF
Born: Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela
Minors: Arizona Cubs (Rookie), Boise (A-), Peoria (A), Daytona (A+), Tennessee (AA), Iowa (AAA), Oklahoma City (AAA)
• Gonzalez debuted with the Astros in 2012 and went on to set a Major League record by hitting his first 25 career home runs with no one on base. He has played every position besides pitcher and catcher for the Astros. This year, Gonzalez joined Mark DeRosa (2008) as the only players in MLB history to have a 30-double, 20-homer season while playing at least one game at first, second, third, shortstop, left field and right field.
Luke Gregerson, RHP
Born: Park Ridge, Ill.
HS: Morton High School (Ill.)
College: St. Xavier University
Minors: Johnson City (Rookie), State College (A-), Palm Beach (A+), Springfield (AA), Tucson (AAA)
• Gregerson was not drafted out of high school, and even after pitching in college, he planned on becoming a lawyer and took an admissions test for law school. But it was his father, Duke, who inspired him to continue chasing his dreams of reaching the big leagues. In fact, Duke Gregerson played in more than 5,000 16-inch softball games and was inducted into the softball Hall of Fame last year. Gregerson pitched for Team USA in this year’s World Baseball Classic, but his father died three weeks after rosters were announced. Gregerson honored his father at the 2017 WBC by wearing his famed softball uniform number, No. 18.
Yuli Gurriel, 1B
Born: Sancti Spiritus, Cuba
Minors: GCL Astros (Rookie), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)
• Gurriel defected from Cuba along with his brother, Lourdes, following the 2016 Caribbean Series in the Dominican Republic. In Cuba, Gurriel was part of baseball royalty. His father, Lourdes Sr., is one of the country’s most beloved athletes and played for the national team for 15 years and won a gold medal, two batting titles and an MVP award in Cuba. This year, Gurriel has made a name for himself with his performance and a fun hairstyle, which the Astros have marketed with rally wigs.
Will Harris, RHP
HS: Slidell High School (La.)
College: Louisiana State University
Minors: Tri-City (A-), Asheville (A), Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA), Reno (AAA)
• Before he was an All-Star reliever with the Astros, Harris sparkled as a position player at LSU. In college, he started at first base as a sophomore and junior before starting at third as a senior. As a freshman, he and older brother Clay became the first brothers to start a game for LSU since Albert and Terry Belle in 1987. Harris pitched 22 innings in college, and has pitched over 275 innings in MLB.
Dallas Keuchel, LHP
Born: Tulsa, Okla.
HS: Bishop Kelley (Okla.) High School
College: University of Arkansas
Minors: Tri City (A-), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christie (AA), Oklahoma City (AAA)
• Keuchel began growing a bit of a beard during the 2013 season, but it was the summer of ’14 when his beard reached legendary status. Coincidence or not, Keuchel has been the Astros’ ace ever since. As a rookie with the Astros in ’12, Keuchel was clean-shaven. He’s one of 57 players born on New Year’s Day to appear in the Major Leagues, including Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.
Francisco Liriano, LHP
Born: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic
HS: Americo Pere (San Cristobal, D.R.) High School
Minors: AZL Giants (R), Salem-Keizer (A-), Hagerstown (A), San Jose (A+), Fort Myers (A+), New Britain (AA), Rochester (AAA)
• Liriano holds the rare distinction of having twice been named the Comeback Player of the Year — for the AL in 2010 and the NL in ’13. He was signed by the Giants as an international free agent in 2000 and was later traded to the Twins for closer Joe Nathan and catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Liriano has also pitched for the Pirates, Blue Jays and White Sox and he’s been moved at the non-waiver Trade Deadline three times.
Cameron Maybin, OF
Born: Asheville, N.C.
HS: T.C. Roberson (N.C) High School
Minors: GCL Tigers (Rookie), West Michigan (A), Lakeland (A+), Erie (AA), Carolina (AA), New Orleans (AAA)
• Maybin debuted with the Tigers at 20 in 2007 as the second-youngest player in MLB. He began the year in Class A, was promoted to Double-A that August, hit four homers in his first six games and was called up to the Majors. In his second career game, Maybin homered off Roger Clemens at Yankee Stadium. Maybin also singled off Clemens and was hit by a Clemens pitch in that same game. He comes from an athletic family, with cousins who played in the NFL (Aaron Maybin and Jalen Reeves-Maybin), the NBA (Rashad McCants) and the WNBA (Rashanda McCants).
Brian McCann, C
Born: Athens, Ga.
HS: Duluth (Ga.) High School
Minors: GCL Braves (Rookie), Rome (A-), Myrtle Beach (A+), Mississippi (AA), Gwinnett (AAA)
• McCann grew up in Georgia as a Braves fan. When his hometown team drafted him in the second round in 2002, McCann got to play alongside some of his idols. He credits Chipper Jones for teaching him how to hit at the Major League level. McCann has hit 15 home runs or more in every season since 2006, the only MLB catcher in that time to do so. He comes from a baseball family. McCann’s older brother, Brad, played first base for the Marlins and the Royals. His father, Howard, is a former collegiate coach at Marshall University.
Lance McCullers Jr., RHP
Born: Tampa, Fla.
HS: Jesuit (Fla.) High School
Minors: Greeneville (Rookie), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA)
• McCullers was selected to his first All-Star Game this year. At 23 he became the second-youngest pitcher in Astros history to make an All-Star team, behind Larry Dierker, who was 22 in his 1969 All-Star season. His father, Lance Sr., pitched seven seasons in the Majors from 1985-90 and ’92.
Collin McHugh, RHP
Born: Naperville, Ill.
HS: Providence Christian Academy (Ga.)
College: Berry College
Minors: Kingsport (Rookie), Brooklyn (A-), Savannah (A), St. Lucie (A+), Binghamton (AA), Buffalo (AAA), Las Vegas (AAA), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA), Oklahoma City (AAA)
• McHugh is the first player in Berry College history to reach the Majors. Following his sophomore year in college, he pitched for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League and was teammates with Dallas Keuchel. He has been writing sporadically for his blog, “A Day Older, a Day Wiser” since 2008, and also plays guitar, saxophone, bass clarinet, drums and ukulele.
Charlie Morton, RHP
Born: Flemington, N.J.
HS: Joel Barlow (Conn.) High School
Minors: GCL Braves (R), Danville (R), Rome (A), Myrtle Beach (A+), Mississippi (AA), Richmond (AAA), Gwinnett (AAA), Indianapolis (AAA)
• Prior to this year, he had just one appearance in the postseason, starting for the Pirates in Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS against the Cardinals. In that start, Morton fired five shutout innings before allowing a go-ahead, two-run homer to Carlos Beltran. In 2011, he set a career-high with 171 1/3 innings pitched, and allowed just six homers all season, which were the fewest among any MLB pitcher (minimum 110 innings). Morton has earned the nickname “Ground Chuck” for his tendency to induce ground balls.
Joe Musgrove, RHP
Born: El Cajon, Calif.
HS: Grossmont (Calif.) High School
Minors: Bluefield (Rookie), GCL Blue Jays (Rookie), Greeneville (Rookie), GCL Astros (Rookie), Tri-City (A-), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Fresno (AAA)
• Morton made his MLB debut with the Astros on Aug. 2, 2016, vs. the Blue Jays, and set a MLB record for strikeouts by a reliever in a debut with eight in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. He was the starting pitcher for the U.S. team in the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, and tossed a perfect first inning in front of his hometown crowd at Petco Park in San Diego. In high school, Morton excelled on the baseball diamond and also played on the offensive and defensive lines on the football team.
Brad Peacock, POS
Born: Palm Beach, Fla.
HS: Palm Beach Central High School
College: Palm Beach State Community College
Minors: Vermont (A-), Hagerstown (A), Potomac (A+), Harrisburg (AA), Syracuse (AAA), Sacramento (AAA), Oklahoma City (AAA), Fresno (AAA)
• Peacock likely would not be on this stage without two dedicated parents. His mother, Jacyne, is a former softball player who taught her son to play baseball from a young age and managed his Little League team in West Palm Beach, Fla., as the first female Little League coach at Okeehelee Park. Although Peacock taught himself how to pitch, he credits his mom with his early development. Peacock’s father, Jerry, has traveled the country in both a trailer and motor home to watch all of his son’s games since he retired in 2003 after serving 31 years as a firefighter and policeman.
Josh Reddick, OF
Born: Savannah, Ga.
HS: South Effingham (Ga.) High School
College: Middle Georgia College
Minors: Greenville (A), Lancaster (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Reddick is no stranger to the postseason, having reached the playoffs in five of the last six seasons with the A’s, Dodgers and Astros. Reddick is an avid fan of professional wrestling and the WWE — his favorite pro wrestler is Triple H — and in his first season in Houston, he’s started a tradition of presenting an orange leather Astros wrestling championship belt to the team’s player of the game following each win.
George Springer, OF
Born: New Britain, Conn.
HS: Avon Old Farms (Conn.) High School
College: University of Connecticut
Minors: Tri-City (A-), Quad Cities (A), Lancaster (A+), Corpus Christi (AA), Oklahoma City (AAA)
• Springer was selected by the Astros with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, becoming the highest drafted UConn player in school history. His mother, Laura, is a former gymnast and he took gymnastics lessons until he was 12 years old and can still do a back flip. His father, George II, played in the 1976 Little League World Series. Both of Springer’s parents also attended UConn. Springer speaks with a stutter and was named the spokesperson for the Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) in 2014. This season, Springer set an Astros franchise record with nine leadoff home runs.
Justin Verlander, RHP
Born: Manakin-Sabot, Va.
HS: Goochland (Va.) High School
College: Old Dominion University
Minors: Lakeland (A+), Erie (AA)
• Verlander was traded from the Tigers to the Astros minutes before the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline, and he says his fiancée, model Kate Upton, helped make the decision to waive his no-trade clause and move to Houston. Verlander was drafted second overall by the Tigers in the 2004 Draft, and Detroit was the only organization he knew before joining the Astros. Verlander has been selected to six All-Star Games, and in 2011 he became the 10th pitcher in MLB history to win both the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards during the same season. Verlander has led the AL in strikeouts four times and made three starts in the World Series in 2006 and ’12.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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