Luhnow's fingerprints all over the 2013 Astros

Luhnow's fingerprints all over the 2013 Astros
March 26, 2013, 1:45 pm
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With 24 of the Astros' 25-man opening day roster set, the Astros reached a tipping point in the rebuilding process under general manager Jeff Luhnow. The majority of the Astros on the roster will be players he acquired.

Whether Edgar Gonzalez or Josh Fields wins the final spot on the roster, 15 players were acquired by Luhnow.

Some like Brad Peacock, Chris Carter, Alex White and Marwin Gonzalez were by trades.  

Rhiner Cruz and Josh Fields, if he makes the club, were Rule Five draftees.

The other nine players were either signed as free agents or claimed off waivers.

That isn’t to say that more players from Ed Wade’s stewardship won’t find their way to the Astros roster. Top prospects like Delino DeShields Jr., Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart and George Springer were all acquired when Wade was the GM.

But what we do see now is how Luhnow plans to build his roster. Plenty of power with players like Carlos Pena, Chris Carter, Matt Dominguez and Justin Maxwell will all have a spot in the opening day lineup. Right now, that power is accompanied by high strikeout totals, which Luhnow would like to cut down on. Those four players combined to strike out 396 times in 1,139 at bats in 2012, a 34 percent clip.

We began to see Luhnow's trend towards power last year when he acquired shortstop Jed Lowire (who he traded this offseason). Lowrie had significant pop for a shortstop and was on pace to set an Astros record for home runs in a season by a shortstop until an injury sidelined him in the second half of the season. If Luhnow is as successful in hitting on Carter and/or Pena as he was in Lowrie it will be a big win for the Astros.

Luhnow will also be responsible for bringing in three of the five starting pitchers for the 2013 Astros. Erik Bedard and Philip Humber have already won a spot in the rotation, while Brad Peacock and Alex White are still battling for the final spot.

Of the four, only Bedard is close to averaging a strikeout per inning pitched. The others will pitch to contact, but each of the other three also have a high walk rate (3.9 walks per nine innings or higher in their careers).

This roster is far from a finished product, of course. The 2015 season is a much more realistic goal for Luhnow and the Astros to completely rework the roster into one they feel can compete for the playoffs, but now Astros fans can see what Luhnow has in mind in terms of a blueprint to follow while he rebuilds the Astros.