Kahrl: Why Astros GM Jeff Luhnow likes the move to the AL

From SABR member Christina Kahrl at ESPN.com on February 14, 2013:

The Astros are already in the business of doing things their own way. They’ve made that clear from the outset, going back to 2011 when they tabbed talent guru Jeff Luhnow from the Cardinals’ front office to be their new general manager. They made the move knowing their franchise would eventually have to move from the NL Central to the AL West in the latest bit of embroidery to Bud Selig’s grand design for Major League Baseball.

And not to put too fine a point on it, the leap means moving to the designated hitter league and all that goes with the territory: mainly, employing another hitter. An extra expense? Maybe, but with a budget under $30 million, that’s no big deal. More importantly, it means more playing time to develop their younger hitters. It’s just like these Astros to see it as an opportunity for a franchise on the rebound.

Luhnow is very upfront about the benefits having the designated hitter affords the Astros. “I like it,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to find a particular kind of player, a hitter who may be more limited defensively. In the National League, you can get such a pileup at first base or left field.”

Looking ahead, Luhnow also sees this as an opportunity to take a few chances on bats. “While I don’t think it’ll change how we develop our hitters or our approach to how you teach hitting as an organization, in the AL — with the DH — you might go out and draft somebody you might not without it.”

Read the full article here: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/32974/reasons-why-luhnow-likes-astros-move-to-al

Originally published: February 14, 2013. Last Updated: February 14, 2013.