The Houston Astros have a new owner, Jim Crane, who recently fired team president Tal Smith and general manager Ed Wade and put the team in the market for a new general manager. The search has officially ended, and the Astros have named St. Louis Cardinals' former VP of Player Procurement Jeff Luhnow as their new general manager.
After Texas Rangers' assistant general manager Thad Levine withdrew from consideration, Colorado Rockies' assistant general manager Bill Geivett was thought to be a lead candidate, but Luhnow got the job. Luhnow previously served as the Cardinals' VP of player procurement, and before that he was the VP of scouting and player development.
Back in 2009, Luhnow sat down for an interview with SB Nation's MLB blog, Beyond the Boxscore, and gave some insights as to how he approaches drafting ans scouting major league talent:
We rely on many sources of information for all player types. The basis of all our decisions is and will always be the scouting reports we get from our scouts. When we have quality information available in the way of performance histories, we certainly use it to shape our decisions. Of course, the quality of performance data from Division 1 college programs is very good and we recognize it is a strong predictor of performance in professional baseball. We have a sophisticated method of adjusting for quality of competition, ballparks, and other factors that may influence the results. When we move from D-1 to other college levels, junior colleges, summer leagues, and high school leagues, the information becomes less predictive and therefore less useful. We look at if, of course, but the scouting opinions will quickly trump the performance information if there is a conflict.
The Houston Chronicle quoted from a prepared statement crafted by the Astros regarding the move:
The Astros strive to develop one of the best systems in baseball and create a consistent winner at the Major League level. Jeff has the knowledge, skills and experience to lead the baseball operations efforts at all levels and help the Astros achieve this vision. Jeff has a demonstrated the ability to inspire and motivate staff in the front office and out in the field
A press conference is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the St. Louis Cardinals be sure to visit Viva El Birdos. For more on the Astros visit Crawfish Boxes. Visit Baseball Nation for more news and notes around the league.