Monday, September 8, 2014

Dealing with the Dumbest Anti-Luhnow Argument

There are legitimate critiques to be made about the Luhnow regime. This isn't one of them.

Not to excessively pick on Rajan. I've seen this lots of places. Its ridiculous.

Luhnow has been with the team for three drafts, 2012 2013 and 2014. Now, obviously, there have been issues with the drafts, particularly in 2014. But is it really fair to criticize Luhnow that none of his guys have made it to the majors, two years after his first draft?

In 2012, there were 6 players taken in the first round (including compensation picks) who have already played in the majors. All 6 were 4 yr seniors, and all but one (Zunino) were pitchers. As you will recall, in the first round in 2012, the Astros drafted a 17 year old SS and an 18 year old pitcher. Don't think anyone dreamed of seeing them in the majors quite yet.

The next two rounds saw 4 more college pitchers make their debut. Rounds 4-10 saw a total of 4 more, all 4 year seniors, and mostly pitchers.  That's 14 total players in 338 picks, less than 5%. Excluding the 1st round, where there was no chance of the Astros picks to make it up by now, its 8 in 278, less than 3%. 2013 is, as expected, even bleaker, with only 5 in the first 10 rounds, less than 2%.

The Astros have some 2012 draftees knocking on the door. I would not be surprised to see Tucker and/or Aplin at some point next year. Potentially Nolan Fontana as well. Brady Rogers could make it to the majors next year or the year after. Correa won't be too long, with maybe Ruiz close behind him. They could start seeing some 2013 draftees soon. Appel, depending on whether his AA success continues, could arrive next year. Kemp might be close as well.

Let's remember that between 2006 and 2008 the Astros drafted a total of 8 players who have reached the majors. The 2012 draft could conceivably match that total on its own. The 2013 draft is not looking as good right now, but we have a long way to go before we can judge that one.

So yes, criticize Luhnow for the Aiken debacle. Criticize him for the scorched earth major league roster in 2013. Even criticize him for letting J.D. Martinez go, if you want. We might disagree, but at least there is some factual basis for those criticisms. But please, don't criticize him for not yet having a drafted player make the majors. We are at least a year early on that making any sense at all, and something tells me it will be irrelevant this time next year.


JoeinAlaska said...

JD Martinez was a mistake. But I stand firm that the "Aiken debacle" was unavoidable. Luhnow was supposed to know before the physical that Aiken might have elbow issues? He tried to make the best of a bad situation by offering Aiken $5 million so they could also sign Nix and Marshall. The responsibility Aiken and Nix not playing right now rests solely with their agent, not Luhnow. It was still a decent draft with Fisher, Reed and Davis looking pretty good so far.

(Not Hank) Aaron said...

Even J.D. Martinez was only a mistake in hindsight. He was one of the worst players in baseball from 2012-2013. -1.8 WAR. How could anyone expect him to turn into a 3 win player?

Anonymous said...

I agree, let's be fair. JD was a mistake, no ifs and or buts. GMs are paid to evaluate talent, and missing on someone beneath your nose is a mistake.

More, importantly, and on the article's point. People should definitely stop criticizing him for not having any players reaching the majors, just as much as people should stop saying he rebuilt the minors. We have been hearing that for two years, even during the period when almost every minor league player on the top ten list was from previous regimes.

Fairness, and balance is a two way street.

Kenneth Meadows said...

Maybe I am wrong, but I think you missed the boat on this one. I see nothing anti-Luhnow in the comment. From my point of view, Rajan was pointing out the apparent stupidity in Kyle L's micromanagement statement. In my opinion, he is saying, in a nice way, that there is no data to support such a ridiculous statement. It seems like Rajan was surprised and maybe even disappointed by the Bodie firing, but I have not seen him denouncing Luhnow for his player development philosophy. I think quite a few people have become overly sensitive to criticism of Luhnow and too quick to pull the trigger defending him.

But maybe I do not see the criticism because I think, as a general rule, micromanagement is the absolute worst policy. But I also have never thought that is what Luhnow was doing.

hooksfan said...

I'm a Season Ticket Holder for the Corpus Christi Hooks and I can tell you Bodie being fired was not a surprise to me. While Rajan might not have denounced Luhnow for firing Bodie I'm a friend with one person in the media who is. If any person wants to criticize Luhnow for the Bodie firing how many Texas League Championships did he (Bodie) bring to Corpus

Rajan and myself have gotten into quite a few arguments and he tries to come off as he knows everything about baseball and he even touted to me once in an email how he has exclusively covered the Hooks. Corpus Christi has only one newspaper so the argument doesn't hold water and if he's a senior writer he's going to get first dibs on any assignment. It doesn't surprise me that I've never seen Rajan at any of the other Texas League venues when the Hooks are on the road and our family has been to all but one stadium.

The Astros have a system in place and if Bodie philosophy differed from theirs he was going to lose and rightfully so. The Astros own the Hooks. I agree with Kenneth...Luhnow hasn't micromanaged the team.

Chris Cupp said...

mmmm...correct me if i am wrong, but Springer wasn't drafted by Luhnow. He was drafted by Ed Wade.

Ron said...

As Hank Aaron said, JD Martinez was only a mistake in hindsight.

I equate it to blackjack. If you have a 16 and the dealer is showing a 6, you ALWAYS stand. The dealer could then flip over a 5 and then a face card and get 21, which is bad luck for you. But that doesn't mean you made the wrong move, you made the correct move based on the information that you had.

JD had a -1.8 WAR from 2012-13, so you can't say it was a bad call to release such a bad player. He may have turned out to be a good player this year, but you can't fault the Astros for making the decision to release him based on his production with the team.

Greg Rajan said...


I traveled to all seven other Texas League ballparks during the Hooks' first two seasons and covered some road games as recently as 2012 during my last season as the beat writer. Will be happy to show you those newspapers anytime you want.

Greg Rajan