Monday's Three Astros Things

Talking about the Cardinal Way, the posting system and top players from the 2014 draft...

Some things to talk about while I wish Brad Mills would name a bull after me...

1) The Cardinal Way and Houston

Since the Cardinals are in the World Series, their great player development system is getting more love. Of course, Jeff Luhnow gets quite a bit of that credit, as he does in this Rany Jazayerli article.

The Cardinals owe much of their success this season to a decision they made nearly a decade ago, when they promoted Jeff Luhnow to be their de facto scouting director in 2005. Luhnow was a virtual unknown at the time, with no baseball background before the Cardinals hired him in 2003. Promoting Luhnow, who advocated a more analytical approach to baseball, created tensions with old-school general manager Walt Jocketty, ultimately leading to Jocketty's departure after the 2007 season.

It was the right call. Under Luhnow, the Cardinals managed one exceptional draft after another.

As a front-office executive from another club told me admiringly (and maybe a little enviously) earlier this year, "The Cardinals reverse-engineered the draft." The draft is the biggest puzzle in baseball, but, at least for a time, the Cardinals have been able to solve it.

We can hope that the Astros will duplicate that success from St. Louis. But, that's so hard to do. Many, many great baseball minds were highly successful in one place and couldn't do anything in another. Just look up Branch Rickey's record in Pittsburgh sometime.

However, that last passage is what stuck out to me. The Cardinals reverse-engineered the draft. How perfect a description is that for what the Cards have done? And, what's more, doesn't that sound exactly like what the Astros did the past two years?

Smart people given the freedom to work will do good things. Luhnow wasn't the only reason for the Cardinals success, but he knows what he's doing. Nothing in the past two years has shown us different, despite the losses. So, yeah, get excited about the system that Luhnow built in St. Louis, but not for the players. Get excited for the "system," because he brought that with him here.

2) Changes to posting system

There has been some speculation that the posting system for Japanese players might change this year. Joel Sherman confirms as much, saying that MLB and the Japanese professional league are working towards modifying the posting agreement:

There had been speculation the system would undergo radical changes, with perhaps even the teams with the three highest posting bids all gaining the rights to negotiate with the players. I have been told there will be alterations in the process, but still only one team will win the post and have exclusive negotiating rights.
It is possible, as a way to give the player more power to chose his destination, he might get to pick a singular team from, say, the top two or three bidders.

The changes should be in place by the end of this week, meaning that prized Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka could be governed by these new rules. Tanaka, for those who aren't familiar, is a right-handed pitcher who will turn 25 on Nov. 1.

He's won 95 games in Japan and has very good command, though his stuff is more like a No. 3 starter. He will absolutely command the same type of interest and money that Yu Darvish got. The question is, if Tanaka has a choice of the top three teams, would he choose the Astros over the Yankees or Cubs? Should the Astros be involved in his bidding at all?

3) Top 30 prospects in 2014 draft

It's for Insiders, but Keith Law and Christopher Crawford have one of the first top 30 prospect lists for the 2014 draft. Not surprisingly, Carlos Rodon leads the way.

I can't clip from the article, so you should go check out what Law has to say about him. East Carolina's Jeff Hoffman impressed enough on the Cape this summer to jump all the way to No. 2 on this list while high school catcher Alex Jackson is third.

This is an extremely early list, and probably will be updated many, many, MANY times before next June. But, it should be just the first of many times that Rodon tops the list. Get ready for the least mysterious No. 1 pick of Luhnow's tenure!

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