Grading Luhnow

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Snake Diggit, May 18, 2016.

  1. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    His prospect for veteran trades are catching heat. But what does the bigger picture look like?

    I would start with his top 5 best and worst non-draft moves. In looking at MLBTR's transaction tracker, this is how I'd rank them:

    Best:

    1. Altuve's extension. Locked up a potential HoF player thru his entire prime for $12M. Grade A move.

    2. Claiming Collin McHugh off of waivers. He put up consecutive 3+ fWAR seasons in '14 and '15.

    3. Claiming Will Harris off waivers. Turned into a borderline All-Star and quality late inning reliever.

    4. Signing Colby Rasmus. Turned a 1 year $8M commitment into a 2.8 WAR season and was a key member of a playoff team. Also looking good so far this season, although he is more expensive.

    5. Trading Bud Norris for Josh Hader, Derek Fisher, and LJ Hoes. Hader turned into an elite prospect, Fisher is also a very good prospect, and Hoes contributed in the majors. Great return for a cantankerous mediocre player.

    Worst:

    1. Releasing JD Martinez. Gave away a star major leaguer to make room for Robbie Grossman. A grade F move.

    2. Trading for Scott Kazmir. Kazmir didn't perform as hoped, while Mengden has exploded onto the scene. Nottingham's stock has fallen but he has a ton of upside.

    3. Trading for Carlos Gomez. Paid star player price for a guy who has been totally worthless and only has 1/2 a season to redeem himself. Hader looks like Chris Sale redux. Houser, Phillips, and Santana aren't having spectacular seasons but all 3 have upside. Still TBD as the prospect outcomes become known and Fiers is still with Houston.

    4. Trading for Ken Giles. Still too early to tell but so far so bad. Giles melted down while Velasquez looks like an ace. Appel, Arauz, Eshelman are all throwing well in the minors. Again, TBD but this looks ugly so far.

    5. Trading for Evan Gattis. Folty is looking good in Atlanta, and Ruiz is playing pretty well in AAA. Gattis could salvage this deal if he rebounds and provides value behind the plate, especially if he's the starter after Castro reaches free agency. Hoyt and Thurman are wild cards.

    His drafts have run the gamut from excellent (2012) to meh (2014), but overall I would say he's been well above average In that area. He's been a veritable wizard on the waiver wire. During the rebuild I think he got good value out of what major league players he had to trade. The Cosart and Happ trades, while not mentioned as one of his best moves, look like really good deals so far. But to this point Luhnow has fallen on his face when trading prospects for veterans, and his track record with free agents is underwhelming.

    Overall I'd say he's been an above average GM, but his apparent areas of weakness may really hamper the organization during their window of contention. Hopefully he can improve there and/or his drafts and amatuer int'l signings will continue to keep the Astros as an elite team.
     
  2. bobrek

    bobrek Vamos Los Astros

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    Please explain how Foltynewicz has "looked good". He has had 1 great start, 1 good start and 1 poor start this year. Last year his ERA was 5.71 and his WHIP over 1.6. Granted, he may turn into something special, but 1 great start means nothing.

    Considering you say Hader looks like Chris Sale, how has Hader done in the majors? Again, he may be something special, but until he achieves success in the major league, his minor league stats don't matter.

    Ruiz currently has an OPS of .721 and has struck out in about 25% of his plate appearances. Of course, he did have that spectacular .649 OPS last season.

    Got a long way to go before these trades can be properly 'graded'.
     
  3. snowconeman22

    snowconeman22 Member

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    I give him around a B- . I thought that last year and I think it again this year . He's on his second manager and has been here for 5 years . He gets credit along with Ed wade for rebuilding the worst farm system in baseball from like 2007-2009 .

    His strategy is certainly unique and not without risk . We really really tanked from 2012-2014 . Getting the number one pick 3 years in a row with the new draft rules gave our farm system a huge advantage . That 2012 draft looked pretty good then and still does now . An often forgotten fact was that for that draft Lunhow still had former Ed wade scouting director Bobby heck on his staff . He replaced him with Elias after that year .

    I give him credit for finding prospects , but when you trade all of your MLB value for a few years straight ( Ed wade did too ) and pick number one overall with a huge $ advantage it would have been a massive failure not to have one of the best farm systems in baseball .

    As expectations increase and focus shifts more to the ML level it will be interesting to see how his trades pan out . Regardless of whether or not the prospects we give up amount to anything ... They do have value at the time of the trade . He will need to accuire productive players for giving up this future value .

    We are in a pretty good position going forward with our young talent , but there are legitimate questions about our pitching if kuechel cannot regain his form . Our stock of high upside arms has been affected by the recent prospect for MLB players trades .

    I think that his grade will change one way quite drastically as this season goes on and during next year / the offseason . Frankly we need to compete . You can't tank for like 4 years and then not have the makings of a dynasty to show for it . Also if it turns out that hinch is not a good manager how many more choices should lunhow get ?

    So TLDR ... B-
     
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  4. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

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    I know I'm not the only one that remembers JD Martinez being generally terrible while he was here. Luhnow did not give away a start major leaguer. He let go what appeared to be a below average AAAA player. What he became in Detroit was as much a surprise to the Tigers as it was the Astros.
     
  5. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    Grade: B+
     
  6. kaleidosky

    kaleidosky Contributing Member

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    What he said. And add to it that, it *seems* like he would've never turned into the player he became had he not been released / reworked everything. Sometimes it takes adversity to succeed.

    And what bobrek said as well. Folty has shown very little thus far in many opportunities...recency bias all over that one. Ruiz has shown nothing..no idea where you pulled that statement from.

    Santana has upside? Maybe so, but if he was still in Houston and doing what he's been doing, we'd be saying "he's done improving--we've already given him a bunch of chances".

    If these are the 5 worst non-draft moves he's made--with prospects TBD--I'm pretty happy right now.
     
  7. Plowman

    Plowman Contributing Member

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    Grade - A+

    Built the farm from the ground up ...and likely wins it all last year if we could have gotten past KC. (and we had our foot on their throat twice)
    Way ahead of schedule ...will be a true contender (if healthy probably winning multiple WS) for years...including this one.
    He did the same thing in St. Louis, folks. Easily, top 3 in MLB as far as I'm concerned.
     
    #7 Plowman, May 18, 2016
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  8. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member

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    No Cosart trade? So far, it appears the trade has yielded similar MLB value (i.e. not much) to both sides, but Astros still have Moran, Martes, and Cameron from it.
     
  9. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    I'm sure Detroit didn't think they were signing a 5 WAR player to a minor league deal. But you can't get around the reality that Houston released a young, cheap player who became a star the next season. And they released him while they were rebuilding and they replaced him with a player who didn't pan out. All added up I don't see how anyone can't say it's been Luhnow's biggest blunder. It may be fair to say that other GMs would have made the same mistake, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a tremendously costly mistake.
     
  10. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    I gave it a mention, but given that Martes and Cameron got off to really bad starts this season, Moran didn't break out (even though he did get called up), and the players involved (including Cosart) are still young, it's hard to label it as a clear win compared to the other moves I ranked ahead of it. Also, I think Enrique Hernandez is a pretty valuable player, which dings Houston a little.
     
  11. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Should also mention that I hated trading Villar. Doesn't make the 5 worst because they had Correa, but I always felt Villar would break out and he is on pace to be a 3 win player this season.
     
  12. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    There were fundamental changes Folty made that makes me believe his recent performance warrants more weight than his previous struggles.

    Ruiz has a 108 wRC+ as a 21 year old in AAA.

    Santana is 23. Others may have been ready to cut bait that early, but not me.
     
  13. kaleidosky

    kaleidosky Contributing Member

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    we'll see. I'll give it to you if Folty really pans out. Any links to the fundamental changes he's made?

    Ruiz had a 91 wrC+ in AA. Let's see if this pans out for a whole season. Regardless, his K rate is up to 27% and is ISO is down at .109. That doesn't point to a productive future hitter IMO. I don't see it

    Even now Santana isn't that useful. He's been fairly crappy this year, in fact. There's no way we could have been giving him consistent PT to see what we had on this team while trying to win. (At least with Gomez, there's a known past that we're hoping to get back to...as unlikely as it seems)

    I'll definitely give you Villar.
     
  14. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member

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    Norris for Hader, Hoes, and Fisher depends totally on Hader and Fisher's prospect status....yet, Moran, Martes, and Cameron are higher rated prospects overall even if the small sample size so far knocks them down a peg. Marisnick and Kike are basically even in fWAR. Astros could end up losing this trade, but odds are right now that this is a bigger win for the Astros than 2,3, and 5 bad trades are losses.
     
  15. astros123

    astros123 Member

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    having the number 1 pick THREE YEARS in a row sure doesnt hurt. He should be graded based on the trades hes made, and they have been awful
     
  16. raining threes

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    B

    Bad trades for MLB talent, particularly the Gomez/Fiers trade. Also the Giles trade, although I think Giles will become an elite closer in time.

    The Cosart trade was a really good one and I didn't like the Villar trade.

    He has done a really good job in the draft I think that Bregman will be a star level player and a future with Altuve/Springer/Bregman/Correa/White/ is a bright one.

    If a TOR Hamels (Under contract for a few yrs) type pitcher comes available I would give up Martes/Paulino Fisher/Reed to get him.
     
  17. kaleidosky

    kaleidosky Contributing Member

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    checking in on Folty's fundamental changes
     
  18. kaleidosky

    kaleidosky Contributing Member

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    huh? He's going to become an elite closer, is cheap as hell and club-controlled for years, and yet it's still a bad trade for a team that's trying to win soon and had a surplus in the minors?

    If Giles sucks, then fine.. but if you're stipulating that he's not just good, but "elite"...i don't understand what you're saying
     
  19. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Ok, guy.

    I couldn't find the article I read that was the source of my comment, but basically he's using his slider more and his fastball less and he's throwing more strikes and getting more GB. You can check this data on Fangraphs. Not only that, but he also has finally gotten healthy. He got roughed up last night but I do think he has turned a corner (assuming he isn't hurt again).
     
  20. bobrek

    bobrek Vamos Los Astros

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    Serious question...

    Poor year last year. 4 starts this year - bad, good, great, bad

    What is it that makes you think he's 'turned the corner'?
     
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