Moneyball changed the game of baseball and the Houston Astros took it a step further when they hired Jeff Luhnow as their general manager in 2011. A floundering franchise needed a fresh approach and a grassroots plan to rebuild a roster that had youth, power and the seemingly immeasurable heart.

In the June 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated, Ben Reiter predicted the Astros would win the World Series in 2017. A guess? Somewhat, but a highly educated guess at that. The Astros were already a few years into the process, an overly used phrase now in sports thanks to the NBA's 76ers. The fact is, the Astros can lay more claim to that phrase than the Sixers. Houston was willing to suffer through the losing associated with trading the team's most valuable veteran assets and the losing required to accumulate high draft picks.

In Ben Reiter's book Astroball: The New Way to Win It All, Reiter details how the Astros' success started at the ground level with the ValleyCats. Jose Altuve, George Springer, Dallas Keuchel, Derek Fisher and Joe Musgrove, all members of last year's World Series winning team, all started their professional baseball careers in Troy and there are many others who wore ValleyCats uniforms before reaching the big leagues.

Sports Illustrated's Ben Reiter joined Big Board Sports on Thursday to talk about his new book:

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