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[Ringer] On the Astros Revolutionizing Player Development

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by tellitlikeitis, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. tellitlikeitis

    tellitlikeitis Still Believes in Jonathan Villar

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    I originally posted in the Minor League thread, but I figured this was thread-worthy

     
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  2. sealclubber1016

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  3. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    I have their book on preorder on Nook. Looking forward to reading it this week. Effectively Wild (Lindbergh is a co-host) is my top podcast at the moment. The Athletic had a good article on pitching development last week as well for those with a subscription that missed it.
     
    #3 Joe Joe, Jun 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
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  4. Wulaw Horn

    Wulaw Horn Member

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    Great article. Super long and in depth as it was a book excerpt (I'm excited about the book- though the book isn't Astros specific it's innovation specific) so I can't even get into all the summary and thoughts in any coherent post online, but definitely read it.

    Overall takeaway- it is so nice to have the franchise run by smart people. I say all the time- "I'd like to see this done but I trust the FO to get it right because they are a lot smarter than I am" and I sincerely mean that. As an ass hole lawyer I'm not genetically predisposed to say that and mean it, but I absolutely mean it here (and I'm pretty sure I was smarter than many of the previous administrations, or, for example, the Texans FO).

    When I say smarter than I don't mean simply they know baseball better than I do (duh) I mean they have a hunger for knowledge, a curiosity about what they are doing, and a drive and vision to wholly create new systems and best practices where none had previously existed, and to remake the entire industry in their image, all while doing it not as early adapters with a resource advantage (think Yankees here) but as the bleeding edge guys pioneering this ****. Pioneers, generally, get thanked for their troubles by being riddled with arrows. The Astros, however, got rewarded with a World Championship ring and a budding jugernaught. I couldn't be happier to be an Astros fan right now.

    It's the difference between getting really smart people, passionate about what they do, a blank check to come up with a better way while also having the courage of their convictions to implement all the way down the line in a decisive and 100% committed way. Just staggering how good they are.

    It will be really interesting to see how that plays out going forward where the next bleeding edge is. Toward the end of the article they said something along the lines of "we kept thinking when we got this implemented, things would slow down, but it never slows down". There can always be the danger that innovators get captured with their own innovation and then become stale, but I think the astros are committed to innovation itself- rather than any particular thing they learn from this innovation so I'm not concerned. Fun time to be an Astros fan.
     
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  5. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    What an incredible article. Love the section on "mindset." I read something like this, and I can't believe they're talking about my little old Astros.
     
  6. kaleidosky

    kaleidosky Your Tweety Bird dance just cost us a run
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    @Nook you're writing books now?
     
  7. Madmanmetz

    Madmanmetz Member

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    Thanks for the read. Makes me wonder if the Astros can turn this advantage into decade plus of dominance in the AL. This kind of advantage is going to have players wanting to sign with the Astros so they can be the best version of themselves.

    Laissez les bons temps rouler
     
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  8. Roc Paint

    Roc Paint Contributing Member
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    Great find

    Houston we have a professional sports franchise!
     
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  9. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast
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    The paragraph about pitchers and long-toss was great. The Braves were militant about it under Cox and Mazzone, Dr. James Andrews was a adherent, Nolan Ryan did it, etc, it used to be incredibly common but then fell by the wayside and has now started a comeback.
     
  10. Chilly_Pete

    Chilly_Pete Contributing Member

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    Reading this makes me feel optimistic about this era of Astros baseball.
     
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  11. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Reading that paragraph, I couldn't help, but think this is why people hate Luhnow.
     
  12. Screaming Fist

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    He's ruthless.
     
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  13. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Yep, not a bad thing for a person in his position.
     
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  14. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast
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    Or a McKinsey consultant. You can absolutely see where he came from.
     
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  15. Wulaw Horn

    Wulaw Horn Member

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    Yep. Not only is it a probably good idea to do the long toss, but I loved how he reacted to the response by firing the guy who questioned it.

    For those who didn't read the article:

    He said- hey we want to long toss. Pitching development coach (old and former major league pitcher was skeptical). He sent him to driveline to talk about it. PDC comes back and says- this program sucks, it's going to get guys hurt. Lunhow responds with- I could see how that could be a problem, tell me why you think that. PDC- it just sucks- ok. Lunhow, pack your **** up and leave, you are fired.

    I love it from a management perspective. He was open to dissenting opinion. He asked for dissenting opinion. When there wasn't any reason for the opinion other than essentially, it's not the way I'm used to doing things he moved on from an employee that wasn't fully bought in to the idea of back and forth in sharpening an idea, and was going to be an unreliable implementer. Just perfect management imo.
     
  16. akgoel

    akgoel Member

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    I would hate to be the player development analyst looking at Forrest Whitley's Catapult harness data and bringing the news to Lunhow.
     
  17. Spacemoth

    Spacemoth Contributing Member

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    Can we get them to manage the Texans too?

    Also, something makes me feel like the Rockets have some work to do if we want to get on the level of the Spurs and Warriors in terms of player development.
     
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  18. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    On a side note, I always took the shrinking number of minor league affiliates to mean Astros were happy with guys at low levels developing in extended Spring Training. From this article, it is basically that Astros feel they don't need as many teams as they have less players as they can identify guys that don't have it more quickly.
     
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  19. Wulaw Horn

    Wulaw Horn Member

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    I've always disliked the Texans, from the word go in 2002 or whenver they did that inane Casserly, Capers, Carr trifecta. I said to myself, "self, this is a stupid organization- don't waste your time, money or loyalty on these clowns." 17 years in it's the best sports fandom decision I've ever made.
    This article shows why the Texans are a mess in my opinion. Does BOB and his team know 8 different ways to get a RB isolated on a middle linebacker? Sure, no doubt. Do they know more football than I do? Sure, no doubt. Do they understand anything about systems, processes, decision making, developing an organizational culture of success or any of the stuff that they talk about in that Astros excerpt, at a really high and innovative level? Nope. Not a chance in hell. Is tasking your head coach with doing all this stuff for the organization probably a fantastically bad idea? Yep, probably so.
    Football is the most insular sport of the 3 majors right now. It's rife for someone like this Astros FO to go into and just kick ass at, but you need total buy in from management on down to change that kind of culture. But the first adopter in that field will have a huge advantage for a long time. It will make the rock fight between Bill James types and Joe Morgan types look like a love in. But yeah, the Texans are garbage, organizationally.

    Hell, football can't even get their **** together to get basic strategy right, like when to go for it on 4th down, when to go for 2 vs 1, etc. No way it's going to be easy to do a rebuild of an entire process.
     
  20. Wulaw Horn

    Wulaw Horn Member

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    I certainly wouldn't trust the Astros FO to be really open to sharing the reasons behind their decisions with the media, they have a real zealous desire to guard against anyone having access to what they view as hard won competitive advantages. I think that part of your reasoning is pretty likely about EST and that is part of what they did with the big kick ass compound there. I wouldn't totally say that you misfired on that supposition.
    Also, I think some of it comes from the place they are in their success cycle picking lower in the draft. And part of it, I think they alluded to, is that they think they are really good at identifying and developing players and they'd just as soon not let other teams get a really good look at some of the prospects they'd just as soon not let them get a real good look at. They've made serious hay scouting the back fields of other teams organizations. I think they don't want to let others return that favor on them.
     
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