By Rob Mason, PSO President of Sports Operations
Jun 25, 2018

After orchestrating an outstanding roster top-to-bottom en route to a World Series victory last year, the Astros have inked GM Jeff Luhnow to a five-year extension that runs through the 2023 season. In addition to the extension, Houston has also promoted him from GM to President of Baseball Operations.

He will remain in his role of calling the shots, but the Astros have now followed the common trend of calling their main front office decision-maker “President of Baseball Operations” as opposed to “General Manager.” Luhnow’s innovative approach to analytics/sabermetrics, defensive shifts, and signing draft picks among other things made the first-time GM a polarizing figure initially during Houston’s rebuilding days, but has now cemented himself as one of the greatest baseball executives of this generation after manufacturing a roster that is capable of winning multiple championships.

Jeff Luhnow was never destined to become an elite baseball executive. In fact, it wasn’t until he was 36 years old that he started working in the baseball industry. Originally, Luhnow graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and engineering before receiving his MBA in management at Northwestern University. He then started his professional career as an engineer and management consultant for the consulting firm, McKinsey and Company. 

Luhnow’s creativity and vision led him to becoming the Founder, President, and CEO of Archetype Solutions. Archetype Solutions’s mission is to “catalyze growth and new business opportunities [for companies] by developing core infrastructure.” Luhnow’s business vision translated to the baseball diamond where his core infrastructure changes helped elevate Houston into becoming one of MLB’s premier annual contenders.

With Luhnow looking to make a transition into the baseball industry in 2003, Chairman and Managing Partner of the St. Louis Cardinals Bill Dewitt Jr. tried emulating Oakland’s moneyball tactics by bringing in Luhnow as Vice President of Baseball Development in an effort to increase the use of analytics to win baseball games.

Luhnow was quickly promoted to Vice President of Player Procurement (Director of International Scouting) after establishing a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic and extending the Cardinals scouting in Venezuela during his brief tenure as VP of Baseball Development. Two of St. Louis’ best relief pitchers in their World Series winning 2011 season, including closer Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez are both direct results of Luhnow’s involvement with the franchise. 

Luhnow’s creativity and vision led him to becoming the Founder, President, and CEO of Archetype Solutions. Archetype Solutions’s mission is to “catalyze growth and new business opportunities [for companies] by developing core infrastructure.” Luhnow’s business vision translated to the baseball diamond where his core infrastructure changes helped elevate Houston into becoming one of MLB’s premier annual contenders.

Luhnow’s strong impression in the organization led to his second quick promotion to Vice President of Scouting and Player Development after one year in his role as VP of Player Procurement. Luhnow would serve in this role from 2006-2011. The former business consultant quickly developed a valuable reputation for scouting and player development.

Under his supervision, the St. Louis Cardinals quickly developed the best farm system in baseball, despite also being one of the premier teams in the MLB. The 2007-2009 MLB Draft’s produced 24 future major leaguers, the most of any team during that period. 2011 World Series contributors like SP Jaime Garcia, 1B/OF Allen Craig, SP Lance Lynn, and OF Jon Jay were all drafted during Luhnow’s reign as VP of Scouting & Player Development. 

Luhnow’s creativity and vision led him to becoming the Founder, President, and CEO of Archetype Solutions. Archetype Solutions’s mission is to “catalyze growth and new business opportunities [for companies] by developing core infrastructure.” Luhnow’s business vision translated to the baseball diamond where his core infrastructure changes helped elevate Houston into becoming one of MLB’s premier annual contenders.

In the middle of the 2011 MLB Winter Meetings while long-time Cardinals icon Albert Pujols was signing his historic 10yr/$240MM contract, the Houston Astros were making history of their own by hiring Jeff Luhnow as the franchise’s 12th General Manager. Luhnow literally changed hotel suites from the Cardinals’ to Houston’s after officially being named the GM of the Houston Astros at 10PM that night.

His first night on the job saw him stay up past 3AM with his new front office executives preparing for the Rule 5 Draft the next day where the team held the first overall pick and later on traded for IF/OF Marwin Gonzalez who has been a very productive player over the last 4+ years while offering premium positional flexibility.  

With a long rebuild looming, Luhnow embraced the process and established a new system of analytics, sabermetrics, and player development policies that would lead to two more last-place finishes before starting to turn things around. 

After five top-5 picks in four straight years (1 coming from LHP Brady Aiken not signing) and the most amount to spend on amateur free agents in three consecutive years, Luhnow used his resources wisely to quickly transform Houston’s hopeless organization into a promising franchise. In addition to the previous regime additions of 2B Jose Altuve, SP Dallas Keuchel, and OF George Springer, Luhnow brought in SS Carlos Correa, 3B Alex Bregman, SP Lance McCullers to form the team’s core. 

After an earlier-than-expected playoff run in 2015 that ended with a five-game Division Series loss to eventual World Series champs Kansas City Royals, Luhnow began to put the finishing touches on his sensationally constructed roster in hopes of bringing the first World Series Championship to the city of Houston. After adding OF Josh Reddick, C Brian McCann, DH Carlos Beltran, 1B Yuli Gurriel, SP Charlie Morton and later SP Justin Verlander, the Houston Astros concluded an epic seven-game World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers by securing the sport’s ultimate goal, the Commissioner’s Trophy. 

With talented, young players all around the diamond and newly acquired SP Gerrit Cole, the Houston Astros will look to become baseball’s next dynasty thanks to the tremendous roster construction under Jeff Luhnow’s command. 

2012 (1; 1): SS Carlos Correa

2012 (1; 41): SP Lance McCullers

2012 (6; 189): OF Brett Phillips [Traded to MIL for OF Carlos Gomez & SP Mike Fiers]

2013 (1; 1): RHP Mark Appel [Traded to PHI for CP Ken Giles]

2013 (5; 137): 2B/OF Tony Kemp

2013 (6; 167): C/DH Jacob Nottingham [Traded to OAK for SP Scott Kazmir]

2014 (1; 1): LHP Brady Aiken [*DNS*]

2014 (1; 37): OF Derek Fisher

2014 (2; 42): 1B A.J. Reed

2014 (4; 106): SP Daniel Mengden [Traded to OAK for SP Scott Kazmir]

2014 (5; 136): SP Jacob Nix [*DNS*]

2015 (1; 2): 3B Alex Bregman

2015 (1; 5): OF Kyle Tucker

2015 (1; 37): OF Daz Cameron [Traded to DET for SP Justin Verlander]

2016 (1; 17): SP Forrest Whitley

2016 (3; 97): C Jake Rogers [Traded to DET for SP Justin Verlander]

2017 (1; 15): SP J.B. Bukauskas

2017 (2; 56): SP Corbin Martin

2018 (1; 28): OF Seth Beer

12-18-2013: SP Collin McHugh (Pre-Arb) off waivers from COL

11-3–2014: RP Will Harris (Pre-Arb) off waivers from ARI

 7-16-2016: 1B Yuli Gurriel (5yrs/$47.5MM) as an amateur FA

11-16-2016: SP Charlie Morton (2yrs/$14MM + $5MM Incentives)

11-23-2016: OF Josh Reddick (4yrs/$52MM)

12-5-2016: DH Carlos Beltran (1yr/$16MM)

12-14-2011: Traded SP Marco Duarte to BOS for IF/OF Marwin Gonzalez

7-21-2012: Traded SP Brett Myers to CHW for a PTBNL (RP Chris Devenski), SP Blair Walters, and SP Matt Heidenreich

2-4-2013: Traded 2B Jed Lowrie and RP Fernando Rodriguez to OAK for SP Brad Peacock and C Max Stassi

1-19-2015: Traded OF Dexter Fowler to CHC for SP Dan Straily and 3B/1B Luis Valbuena

7-23-2015: Traded SP Daniel Mengden and C/DH Jacob Nottingham to OAK for SP Scott Kazmir

7-30-2015: Traded CP Josh Hader, RP Adrian Houser, OF Brett Phillips, and OF Domingo Santana to MIL for SP Mike Fiers and OF Carlos Gomez 

11-19-2015: Traded IF Jonathan Villar to MIL for SP Cy Sneed 

12-12-2015: Traded SP Mark Appel, SP Harold Arauz, SP Tom Eshelman, SP Brett Oberholtzer, and SP Vince Velasquez to PHI for CP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz

8-1-2016: Traded RP Josh Fields to LAD for 1B/OF Yordan Alvarez

11-17-2016: Traded SP Albert Abreu and SP Jorge Guzman to NYY for C Brian McCann

8-31-2017: Traded OF Daz Cameron, SP Franklin Perez, and C Jake Rogers to DET for SP Justin Verlander and a PTBNL (OF Juan Ramirez)

1-13-2018: Traded 3B Colin Moran, SP Joe Musgrove, OF Jason Martin, and RP Michael Feliz to PIT for SP Gerrit Cole

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