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Luhnow and the Front office

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by The Beard, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Just moving discussion about the Luhnow/Crane regime here so we don't clog up the minor league thread. I started the topic in that thread and there has been some pretty good discussion, so though it might be worth it to put it in a separate thread

    While i've generally be on board with the baseball side of things from the new regime, i've become more and more leery of things over the past month or so.

    I think we all (at least most of us) agree that it's still way early to judge Appel, and especially Aiken or any of this years class. It is also safe to say, with Appel's performance and Aiken's elbow, for two top overall picks, it's at least a little disappointing

    And I just start looking at the future of the organization, and start to wonder how we are really doing. The minor league system has been rated as one of the top 2 or 3 in baseball and with good reason. A lot of those top guys, though, were brought in by the Wade regime. All of the ones who are here already were.

    So looking at the guys generally regarded as our top 20, about half are Luhnow guys.

    2012 Draft guys

    Correa: Disappointing that he had a major injury, but the star is shining bright on this kid

    Appel has obviously been disappointing. Like Nick (and many others i assume) i'd love to see how he does out of Lancaster. I gotta say i'm really worried about him though

    McCullers hasn't been terrible, but 31 bb in 60 innings don't make me say "wow, this kid is definitely the real deal"

    I do like Ruiz, but where Appel and McCullers have to deal with that park in a negative way, gotta wonder how Ruiz will do out of there. Again, I like him, but don't see this pick as a major hit

    Fontana and Tucker, 4 years college guys, maybe end up as a utility man and 4th OF

    2013 draft way too early to judge and I understand that, but the top 3 all right now very disappointing, Kemp and Gregor have been the only two that you really look at right now and get excited

    Trades

    This is where they have done fairly well. Guys like Hader and K Smith, to receive them in the deals for the players we gave up, is excellent.

    Development

    Am I the only one here worried about the way they are developing our arms? I don't and won't pretend to know enough about how to keep pitchers arms healthy and how to develop them into great major league pitchers. Of our top 10 pitching prospects, I would say Feliz, Hader and Smith are the only three who are really meeting or exceeding expectations

    I'm not saying it's time for change or anything like that, but I am saying that the shine is coming off the star that is Jeff Luhnow in my opinion, and we better see something from the last two draft classes as great hits at some point in the near future
     
  2. bobrek

    bobrek Proud Mofo
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    Not to nit pick, but Appel was a 2013 choice.
     
  3. sealclubber1016

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    If i would have asked you how you felt about the 2009/2010/2011 drafts after the 2012 season how would you have felt aside from Springer. Velasquez was already hurt, Folty hadn't broken out yet, Keuchel appeared to be nothing. Luhnow hasn't had the good fortune of trading a player like Hunter Pence.

    You have to let things play out, far too early to make any calls. How do you know Tucker is a 4th OF or that Ruiz/Kemp/Gregor won't be able to hit at higher levels or that McCullers/Appel won't put it together outside Lancaster

    Like I said, it's just far too early, especially for the 2014 draft.
     
  4. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    I don't know, obviously. But all we can go on right now, is what is currently going on as none of us know the future (if I did, i'd get really rich)

    And as I said myself, it's way too early for the 14 class. But am I wrong to be disappointed that the #1 overall pick isn't healthy, and may or may not even sign?

    As for the 90/10/11 drafts, none of those had the advantage of the #1 overall pick and the slot money that comes with them.
     
  5. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Yep yep, my mistake on that one
     
  6. bobrek

    bobrek Proud Mofo
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    And, actually, I did nit pick. :)
     
  7. sealclubber1016

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    True, but if Aiken, Appel, and Correa all end up being great MLB players than the drafts look much better. People are panicking because Aiken may be damaged and Appel is really struggling.

    Now these concerns may be completely valid, but we can't make calls yet.
     
  8. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    I agree, and have stated that it's too early to call on all of them

    But, it is a discussion forum, and all we can really discuss right now is how they are doing (i know, i'm repeating myself and won't continue to) . . .and right now, it's not looking great

    I just wish there were more of these guys who were performing well right now, and giving us reason to say "these guys look like the true future of an mlb contender" instead of "well, it's still too early to panic"
     
  9. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    The thing that is more questionable about the Luhnow regime is the total trash performance at the ML level. Sending out 8 inexperienced guys every night and expecting them to develop without adequate veteran support and few dependable spots in the lineup has turned into a total nightmare.
     
  10. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    I would guess that part is on Jim Crane. I would think that has to do with keeping the salary budget where Crane tells him.

    Sure would be nice to have a legitimate veteran LF
     
  11. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    who would block Domingo Santana.
     
  12. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    Totally enjoyed the veterans. Rick Ankiel, Carlos Pena, Ronny Cedeno, Scott Feldman.

    I'm more impressed by what these guys do, without the veterans around.
     
  13. desihooper

    desihooper Contributing Member
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    Nothing wrong with a little shared suffering to build a core for team unity. We can always supplement with an experienced addition once the team is ready to contend. A Paul O'Neill or Scott Brosius type if we imagine ourselves as Yankees light when their "core 4" came up together.
     
  14. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    Why all the negativity?

    The injuries have been the biggest issue to the farm system guys this year... and until they all start coming up in waves (and then sink or swim), you can't really evaluate this entire front office's work.

    Not having Appel and Aiken work out would be a major bummer.... as I said before, all this losing needs to net "something" of value. If they're no better off with the #1 pick than they would be with the #10 or #15 pick (since the "whole draft is a crapshoot!" anyways), then maybe I'd rather them try a little harder at the MLB level and luck into a wild card here or there.

    Remember, this is the "Great experiment"... if it works, a lot of teams could start emulating this sort of strategy real soon... but nothing is guaranteed to work.
     
  15. CometsWin

    CometsWin Listening to Tupac Westsiiiiide
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    The thing about prospects is that baseball is littered with top prospects that never did anything as well as players who were never top prospects that became all-stars. It will take many years to really judge Luhnow's drafts.
     
  16. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    Not to mention that he's already proven he can build a successful minor league system... what he's doing here with the farm, while much needed and appreciated, was his MO and what was expected of him.

    What he hasn't done yet is be the one to make all the calls at the MLB level (Mozeliak was having success as GM of the Cards both before and after Luhnow was there)... he hasn't had to retain any key free agents, he hasn't had to sign the "big" free agent, and he hasn't had to trade for the key piece in a pennant run, and he's likely still finding his way in terms of call-ups/promotions/demotions/etc.

    Now, I don't think he's done anything wrong to raise concern that he "can't" do that... we just have to wait a little longer before he can be evaluated to do so.
     
    #16 Nick, Jul 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  17. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Not really.

    We really have one OF right now. Fowler has been pretty good, but his career background said he can't stay healthy, and he is living up to that again this year. We also have a DH spot that isn't exactly "filled". Adding a good, veteran left fielder wouldn't hurt the development of Santana in any way.

    And let's not forget Santana is 21 years old
     
  18. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Yea honestly, that's not the level of a LF I was referring to. I'm talking about a legitimate, GOOD major league LF. Not a guy who was once good, and maybe could get hot again and then he would have value and we could trade him for more prospects yada yada yada

    I'm talking about bringing in a legitimate player for the lineup

    I hesitate to bring up specific names, because that tends to get discussions side tracked to those particular players. But how about a good defensive OF, someone who you can almost always count on to hit .270-.280, maybe 15 HR. Not a star, but a solid consistent ballplayer.
     
  19. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Sorry if i'm Mr. Negativity man, but I don't think that questioning whether or not our front office is getting the most out of our drafts is being overly negative..

    And I know they can't be fully evaluated yet, i've read that enough times already. Does the fact that until all these guys get to the big leagues (or don't) we don't know, mean we can't discuss them unless we are just talking about how great they are? If so, let me know and i'll chime out (or just come in and gush over every minor league home run and forget everything else)

    And your next paragraph is a huge worry in my opinion. We have a #1 overall who has been terrible, and another who has some kind of elbow issue, and if we are asking for over a million dollar discount, i'd guess it's safe to say it's at least a little serious. Yes, it's still early and we don't know how either will turn out. But, if i'm the only one who feels like it's ok to question those picks and the way we are developing our pitchers, that's cool too
     
  20. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    Hey I'm right there with you... I was questioning all these things (and then some) over the past year plus, and was told by the "powers that be" here to cool it. I've also recently accused of being nothing but contrarian or negative in everything I post... ;)

    I agree its frustrating, and this front office has probably received a little bit too much credit for just rebuilding the farm system with great draft positions that were gained by sucking royally at the MLB level (not exactly a difficult feat... but still one that could have been screwed up... still not likely worthy of an SI cover article with a player this front office didn't even draft).

    I don't think its wrong to ever take an inventory or have an evaluation of the team as a whole... we've all (those of us still here) gotten so used to ignoring the results at the big league level and focusing just on the minors... but at the end of the day, I agree that none of that matters if they can't do well at the big league level.

    And we've already seen how most players struggle initially (Springer, Singleton), some seem to take to it quite well (Keekay!), and some have periods of success with a lot of struggles surrounding it (Grossman).

    Its really hard when they're all trying to figure it out together.... most established teams only have one or two call ups trying to figure it out at any given time. These are the growing pains when dealing with a total reboot without any established players (not advocating for established players...)
     
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