One of owner Jim Crane's first big decisions was finding a person to run the baseball operations side of the organization. He decided to give Jeff Luhnow his first opportunity as general manager back in December, and so far, the reviews are good.
Luhnow came over the from St. Louis Cardinals, where he served as vice president from 2003 to 2011. According to this article on USAtoday.com, he has experience in a number of areas the Astros were trying to improve upon.
He oversaw the draft for the Cardinals for a number of years and played an active role in player development. One of the reasons the Cardinals won the World Series was because of players that came up through their farm system.
He now has the challenging task of turning the Houston Astros into a winning organization and, hopefully, bringing them their first World Series pennant. These are the reasons why his plan is the right one to get them where they want to be.
Jeff Luhnow has a dedication to building the organization through the draft and he started off with a strong first draft at the beginning of this month.
He surprised many by picking Carlos Correa with the first overall pick but it is hard to argue with a player who some have compared to Alex Rodriguez. They followed it up with another strong pick at the end of the first round with right hander Lance McCullers who signed Monday afternoon.
It is one thing to draft high talent but the next point is key.
One area the Astros have struggled in under previous management was their unwillingness to shell out the money necessary to sign their draft picks.
Now the new CBA helps in this area, especially when it comes to players demands. MLB assigned a slot bonus to each pick, which was the recommended bonus, teams should give players, but they don't have to give that amount.
For example, Correa came in well below the recommended bonus, but the Astros were able to use that extra money to give to Lance McCullers, who was expected to be a tough sign, according to the Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle.
The Astros have already signed seven of their first 11 picks.
Jim Crane has stated numerous times since taking over the organization that he will be building this team through the draft and farm system. He understands that to have success year after year that you can't get into bidding wars with the likes of the New York Yankees or Detroit Tigers.
A GM can only be successful if the owner shares the same vision and vice versa. It seems like Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow are on the same page where they see this organization going.
Jeff Luhnow was part of two World Series rings for the Cardinals, the first in 2006 and the second coming last season. Looking back over the past few seasons, the biggest acquisition was probably the trade for Matt Holliday in 2009.
The majority of the Cardinals stars came up from the farm system, which Luhnow had a big part in. Last year, Jaime Garcia, Allen Craig and Jon Jay all played key roles for the Cardinals down the stretch and each was drafted by Luhnow.