When Jeff Luhnow was hired on as the Astros GM, quite a few Cardinals’ fans were worried that he might raid their ranks. After only a month on the job, that appears to be happening. Keith Law, who himself turned down an Astros offer for a front office position, reported that the Astros had obtained permission to interview the Cardinals Mike Elias. He is currently the head of amateur scouting for St Louis and worked under Luhnow. If hired, Elias would be a special assistant in the Astros’ scouting department. Luhnow continues to revamp the Astros front office and change their approach into a much more analytic one. The request to interview Elias is more evidence of that.
One of the many disagreements the fanbase had with the prior regime was the old school approach to scouting and development. The lack of sabermetrics really caused a disconnect between the new age fans and Astros’ management. Luhnow has made sure that wouldn’t happen with this new group as the recent hires have been primarily from a group of former Cardinals employees who used sabermetrics extensively. The reality is most of us don’t really know how much data Ed Wade and his staff used or didn’t use to make important decision but it is very clear that Luhnow will leave no doubt how he envisions the Astros will operate from here on out.
Another thing that bugged more than a few fans about Wade’s tenure were the constant transactions with Philadelphia Phillies, his old employer. It seemed that Ed would make a trade yearly with the Phillies, although he dealt with other clubs too. Luhnow seems to bringing quite a few of his former Cardinals co-workers with him, I wonder if some fans will start to grumble a bit. While Wade did make three significant deals with Philadelphia during his time as GM, you could make an argument the Astros won or broke even in all three. If Luhnow can produce similar success with his recent hirings coming from St Louis, it would make the organization vastly better.
One thing has been made perfectly clear about the 2012 Astros and beyond, data usage will be a huge part of the plan. Luhnow has said he will use both numbers and scouts to make decisions going forward but after this potential hire, the Keith Law job offer and the prior additions it is perfectly clear that the time of the baseball stat geek has arrived in Houston.