Sports Illustrated has a huge (cover story) article about the Astros, and their “total rebuild” approach, claiming to unite scouting and data analysis in whole new ways.
It’s pretty interesting, and the whole thing is online here. In the magazine, it’s accompanied by a tongue-in-cheek piece about the ‘Stros winning the 2017 World Series.
Of course, Houston is a division rival now, and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
More interesting for the short term — at least to me — was that the Astros allowed SI access to their draft discussions leading up to their No. 1 overall pick.
Alex Jackson was one of the final four players under consideration by Houston for the top pick, and the only hitter. It certainly sounds as if SI was in the actual room. Here’s their report on what happened when Jackson’s name came up:
You could sense the scouts’ views of Jackson before the discussion of him had even begun. He had hit 47 home runs in high school.
“Mmmm,” they grunted, each time he unleashed his violently powerful swing on the video screen. “Mmmm.” “Physically, he looks like Magglio Ordoñez,” the area scout said. “A three or four hitter.
Potentially hits 30 homers, with a .300 average.”
“What about his swing?” Luhnow asked.
“Graded 80 out of 80,” came the reply.
Jeff Luhnow is the Astro GM responsible for the whole enterprise. He’s best known for overseeing the series of drafts for the Cardinals that produced many of the players who contributed to their recent success.
Ordonez, of course, played 15 years and retired with a .302/.369/.502 line. It turns out that there are only 44 guys in all of history with career totals above .300 BA and .500 SLG. Mags is one. Most of the others are in Cooperstown or en route. One of the other 43 is named Robinson Cano. So ya know.
And if you missed it, we had the full freeze-frame breakdown of that 80-out-of-80 Jackson swing at this link.
Whatever one thinks about Houston’s brave new world, these are some very qualified baseball guys. They loved Alex Jackson.
Thought it was worth noting.