Fox Sports Houston did a feature about the 2012 draft. They were in the "War Room" with the members of the front office. They had access to Luhnow, Heck, Sig Mejdal, and scouts on each of the draft days and for post-draft interviews. I found the show incredibly informative and was a little surprised how much inside info they released, especially if you knew what to listen for in the discussions. Here is a little of what I took away from it.
Luhnow started out explaining what most of us already had assumed or heard. That after speaking to the Owner/President they were focusing on a rebuilding effort through the draft and IFA signings. Luhnow stated he would have a process of evaluating players. The keys to the process was understanding what drives success at the major league level and how early can you find those characteristics in a player's career. I guess he uses "career" here as evaluating HS/Col/IFA. Then when speaking about those things he identified contact vs striking out and locating a fastball. Very interesting because he is speaking of skills rather than tools.
On to the draft.
Drafting 101 Featuring Mejdal, Heck, Luhnow:
Luhnow stated a very simple process for drafting. First they figured out what players they wanted. Then they figured out how much the players were worth. Finally you try to figure out how you go about a draft to get the most Major League Value out of it. All novels have to start with a story board right? The filling in of the story was what I found most entertaining.
I didn't know who Sig Mejdal was. He must be a trusted analyst though. He was all over the place in the feature. He is a pure stat guy, only analysis. He said, "It is not one column of data. There are many incremental advantages that end up adding up to something useful". In here there was also a segment about how Heck was using similar information as Luhnow does. "They were similar players. With similar analysis", Heck said about the new process. Mejdal also commented that his job is to put an evaluation on every single player. Luhnow and Heck take that information and take it to the next level and see what kind of value they can get from the draft. IMO this is the first commentary about Luhnow seeing how much players cost.
Draft Day 1
1.1: Heck and Luhnow both talked of the 1.1 like it was a frightening blessing, like triplets. They kept saying that they needed to get their guy but there were no guarantees. They talked about 1.1 pressures, responsibilities, etc. We know they took Correa and pretty much everyone is happy.
#1 pick: It sounded as though they were undecided on the pick until minutes before they took it. They stated Correas camp and "another" camp were in contact with Luhnow until the end. They showed a call between Luhnow and "Other" camp saying they were going another way, good luck. I have a feeling Correa and the other camp were both coming down and Luhnow heard a number that made one more attractive. Although the whole contract or even an exact number was not negotiated IMO.
#1C: It started to get interesting here. There was talk from Mejdal that they had run simulations about players they would/could draft after Player A was drafted and how that would determine BCE or CDE. Meaning that they then had to determine player types, evaluations, and cost.
The Astros knew they would have more resources for the draft than most clubs at this point. They said they were targeting a player some clubs would deem unsignable. At this point they were hoping good players would fall and Heck said McCullers was the player they had sought. They said he was a 1st round value and glad to get him.
Draft Day 2
Having the 1st pick day two made it much like the first pick the day before. They had all night and day to talk to people. The Astros also had many camps call them because of the extra resources they were assumed to have. Luhnow said many guys called and said their number had changed since they were not drafted day 1. I am sure that helped down the line. From knowing what I know now, I think this gave them the number for Ruiz and Virant.
The Astros plan was best slot value for the next 2 rounds and go for one more expensive signing, possibly in the 4th because of the information they had. They had Fontana as the 2nd round value all along but didn't know they could draft him until minutes before the pick when they talked to his camp. At this point the "Ruiz situation" comes into play. Remember when the reports came out that Correa had signed for 5 million? In the room Luhnow is asking another man about the 3rd rounder and Ruiz, then he says, "Anyway.. we should be spinning up our best slot deal for the 3rd round, right now. Make sure he is signed for 5". Other guy, "What about Ruiz"? Luhnow, "We will just max out on Ruiz. It is going to be close". Awesome. Well at least it was to me.
Like Fontana, the Astros had Rodgers in the 3rd the whole time. Luhnow called Rodger's guy point blank asked him if he would sign for slot. Luhnow said he could not guarantee they were drafting him but he was right there if it was an easy signing. I guess he assured Luhnow he would sign at 3. Heck had several good things to say about Rodgers here. Then the Stros were able to get Ruiz who they had targeted as their over-slot guy the whole time. And after I thought about it I figured that Virant let them know something that if they could not work out Ruiz, Virant could be had.
Loved the draft. They took the best guy they had for value at 1, 1C, 2, 3, 4. That sounds like they had a gameplan and executed it perfect. I may have more but I have to go.
Oh, yeah. Did you see it? What'd you think? Any discussion of the draft or players welcome.