AJ Hinch was named the 18th manager in Astros franchise history on Sept. 29, 2014. In just four years on the job, Hinch has already proven himself as one of the best managers in Major League Baseball and one of the most successful managers in franchise history. Since his hire, Hinch has produced a World Series Championship and three playoff appearances, with the first (2015) following a nine-year postseason drought for the franchise. Coming off the Astros 2017 Championship season, many asked how the defending champions would fair in 2018, the year after a World Series win and under Hinch's leadership, the Astros improved, setting a franchise record for wins with 103. By doing so, the Astros became just the fifth defending World Series champion to win 100 games in a season dating back to 1970. Additionally, the 2017-18 Astros became the first team to post consecutive 100-win seasons since the 2002-04 Yankees. As the defending World Series Champions, the 2018 Astros had a few additional responsibilities, including the club's trip to the White House in March and a trip to the All-Star Game in July. Hinch and his coaching staff managed the American League squad at the All-Star Game to an 8-6, 10-inning win over the NL at Nationals Park in Washington. For his steady leadership, Hinch was rewarded with a contract extension on Aug. 30, 2018, which will keep him in an Astros uniform through at least the 2022 season. After their historic regular season, the 2018 Astros advanced to the American League Championship Series, but lost in five games to the eventual World Champion Red Sox. In his four years, Hinch has amassed a 374-274 overall record and .577 winning percentage, which is the highest in franchise history. His 374 wins rank fourth in franchise history as he enters the 2019 season, trailing only Bill Virdon (544), Larry Dierker (435) and Art Howe (392). Additionally, his 18 postseason wins are the most in franchise history, besting Phil Garner's 13. Hinch has posted winning records in all four of his season, going 103-59 in 2018, 101-61 in 2017, 84-78 in 2016 and 86-76 in 2015. Since Hinch took over the Astros managerial post in 2015, the Astros have posted the best record by any American League club. Additionally, Hinch enters the 2019 season as the fourth-longest continuously tenured manager in the AL, trailing only Ned Yost (KC), Bob Melvin (OAK) and Terry Francona (CLE). Looking back on 2017, Hinch's Astros were dynamic and historic on and off the field. He managed the club through the wake of Hurricane Harvey and secured the city's first major sports championship in over 20 years (since the Houston Rockets won the NBA Championship in 1995). The 2017 Astros won 101 games, before embarking on an 18-game trek to the World Series title. The club dispatched the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers on that journey, and won two Game 7's, in the ALCS vs. New York and in the World Series at Los Angeles. For his efforts in 2017, Hinch was named the Baseball America Manager of the Year and won the 2017 Esurance MLB Award as Major League Baseball's Best Manager. He also finished third in the voting for the BBWAA AL Manager of the Year Award, his second time to be a finalist for that honor (also, 2015). Additionally, Hinch was named the Manager of the Year by the Boston Chapter of the BBWAA and earned the American Baseball Coaches Association Honor Award, which is presented each year to individuals involved in baseball who have distinguished themselves and are recognized for achievements in their profession. The 2016 club missed the playoffs but were in postseason contention going into the final weekend of the regular season. In 2015, Hinch guided the Astros to their first playoff appearance in nine years (last, 2005), which included a 16-win improvement over the 2014 Astros (70-92). In recognition for his efforts in 2015, Hinch was named a finalist for the BBWAA American League Manager of the Year, finishing second, and was a 2015 All-Star, as Royals Manager Ned Yost named Hinch as a coach for the AL All-Star Team. By earning this honor, Hinch became the first Astros manager selected to an All-Star Game since Jimy Williams in 2004. Hinch has a diverse background in the game, having more than 20 years of playing, managing and front office experience in Major League Baseball.
This is his second managerial position, having served as Arizona's manager for parts of two seasons from 2009- 10. At the time of his appointment, Hinch was 34 years old, by far the youngest manager in the Major Leagues. While his hiring by Arizona was considered unconventional at the time, Hinch's hire paved the way for many other first-time managers to get their shots at skippering for the first time at the Major League level, including current managers Aaron Boone (NYY), Craig Counsell (MIL) and Scott Servais (SEA). Ten years later, at 44 years old and manager of the Houston Astros, Hinch ranks as the eighth-youngest manager in the Major Leagues, behind Rocco Baldelli (MIN) at 37, Kevin Cash (TB) and Andy Green (SD), who are both 41, Chris Woodward (TEX) at 42, and Alex Cora (BOS), Gabe Kapler (PHI) and Mickey Callaway (NYM), who are all 43. Between his managerial posts, Hinch worked with the San Diego Padres, where he most recently served as the club's Vice President and Assistant General Manager for three years (2011-14). In that role, Hinch oversaw all aspects of the club's professional scouting and medical departments, while assisting with the club's roster composition, player acquisitions, talent evaluations and contract negotiations.
Prior to joining a front office, Hinch played parts of seven Major League seasons with Oakland (1998-2000), Kansas City (2001-02), Detroit (2003) and Philadelphia (2004-05). A former catcher, Hinch played in 350 career Major League games after a wildly successful collegiate career at Stanford. At Stanford, Hinch established himself as one of the best catchers in school history. A three-time All-American and All-Pac10 team selection, Hinch earned Pac10 Player of the Year honors twice. In 1996, Hinch led the Cardinal to the College World Series and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best collegiate player in the country. Hinch still ranks among the top 10 all-time in eight statistical categories for Stanford, including hits (305, fourth), triples (15, fifth), doubles (58, sixth), runs (219, sixth), batting average (.351, seventh), RBI (191, seventh), at-bats (868, ninth) and games played (229, 10th). He led the Cardinal in hitting three times in four years, including an impressive .381 mark in 1996. For his achievements on the field and his contributions to the school, Hinch was inducted into the Stanford University Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 11, 2014. During his time in Palo Alto, Hinch earned his Bachelor of Science in psychology in 1996 and was a member of the 1996 bronze medal-winning U.S. Olympic Baseball Team. He was drafted three times as an amateur, in the second round of the 1992 draft out of high school by Chicago (AL), in the third round of the 1995 draft by Minnesota and in the third round of the 1996 draft by Oakland, before signing with the A's after his senior season at Stanford. Hinch, who retired as a player after the 2005 season, joined Arizona's front office one month after retirement and was eventually named the team's Director of Player Development. He held that role until being named the Diamondbacks manager in 2009. Hinch was raised in Midwest City, Okla., and now makes his residence in The Woodlands, Texas, with his wife Erin and his daughters Haley and Kaitlin.