With the St. Louis Cardinals headed back to yet-another World Series, and the baseball community gawking at the plethora of young talent on their roster, I think it’s time to credit the man who often goes unnoticed – Jeff Luhnow.
Since being hired by the Cardinals in 2003, Luhnow set the bar in Major League baseball for player development and scouting programs. He applied an analytical approach to the game, and the results were tremendous.
The organization won five minor league championships under his watch in St. Louis, and produced the best system-wide minor league record in all of baseball in 2010. The first three drafts oversaw by Luhnow, which took place from 2005-07, led to 24 future big leaguers, also the most of any team during that stretch.
Several crucial pieces of the team’s 2011 World Series team, including Jaime Garcia, Jon Jay, Lance Lynn and Allen Craig, were drafted by Luhnow, although current GM Jon Mozeliak receives the bulk of the credit of late.
Now, Luhnow is at the helm of a rebuilding Houston Astros organization that won just 51 games last season. However, already the same formula is being implemented. The Astros will have the #1 overall draft pick for the third straight season next June, and have already added an immense amount of talent under the new regime.
Players like shortstop Carlos Correa and right-hander Mark Appel will soon be taking center stage in Texas. Don’t be surprised if in a few years, you see Houston hoisting an American League West crown, becoming the crown jewel of the Lone Star State once more.