Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


Contributors

Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Repoz
Editor - Baseball Primer

Syndicate

Sig Megdal Newsbeat

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Business Week: Houston Astros’ Jeff Luhnow Lets Data Reign

We were selling jeans here!

when [current Astros GM] Jeff Luhnow showed up for his first day of work as the St. Louis Cardinals’ vice president for baseball development, he already had two strikes against him: He was a former management consultant at McKinsey, brought in to shake up the organization. And the sum total of his baseball experience was the McKinsey fantasy league and a business school paper he’d written on how the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series…

Luhnow’s appreciation of the predictive power of data grew out of his experience selling designer jeans. In the early 2000s, with a former president of Levi Strauss, he co-founded an online custom apparel company that made jeans for Lands’ End (LE) shoppers… if wishful thinking led customers to order jeans that didn’t fit, they would send them back. Over time the company amassed enough data to anticipate and correct for these tendencies…

Astros’ analysts noticed that [Collin] McHugh had a world-class curveball. Most curves spin at about 1,500 times per minute; McHugh’s spins 2,000 times… Houston snapped him up… After consulting with the analytics staff, pitching coach Brent Strom altered McHugh’s repertoire. Gone was the sinker… here again, advanced data yielded a useful insight: Major league hitters had become so adept at hitting low pitches that they were vulnerable to high ones. [Billy] Beane had discovered a particularly clever countermove. “Beane stayed ahead of the curve,” says Strom, “by finding hitters with a steep upward swing path to counter the sinking action of pitchers trying to induce ground balls.” It worked: The A’s hit the fewest ground balls and into the fewest double plays in the league. So the Astros began teaching their pitchers how to adapt…  McHugh won a spot in the Astros’ starting rotation and has gone on to lead the team in strikeouts and deliver a sterling 3.03 ERA…

The attacks on Luhnow and the Astros highlight a big difference between his old job and his new one: Turnarounds at McKinsey didn’t play out on as public a stage as baseball’s… Nevertheless, Luhnow insists the Astros’ project remains on track. “I learned at McKinsey how to have a thick skin,” he says, “and that’s carried over into baseball.”

The District Attorney Posted: August 28, 2014 at 07:46 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, brady aiken, collin mchugh, jeff luhnow, sig megdal

 

 

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(3253 - 11:49am, Sep 19)
Last: 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people

NewsblogAraton: The Other Side of a Derek Jeter Hustle Play
(16 - 11:49am, Sep 19)
Last: Batman

NewsblogRon Washington Acknowledges Infidelity, Doesn’t Explain Why He Resigned
(28 - 11:46am, Sep 19)
Last: Barry`s_Lazy_Boy

NewsblogJoe Girardi put Derek Jeter’s farewell tour ahead of the team
(140 - 11:44am, Sep 19)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-19-2014
(22 - 11:40am, Sep 19)
Last: The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee)

NewsblogIt’s quite the turnaround for Angels and General Manager Jerry Dipoto
(8 - 11:24am, Sep 19)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogBowman: A year’s worth of struggles leads reason to wonder what changes are in store for the Braves
(57 - 11:00am, Sep 19)
Last: Rickey! trades in sheep and threats

NewsblogKeri: How Washington Built a World Series Favorite
(38 - 10:41am, Sep 19)
Last: Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(280 - 10:15am, Sep 19)
Last: Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun)

NewsblogDave Kreiger: New Baseball Hall of Fame voting rules
(70 - 9:45am, Sep 19)
Last: DanG

NewsblogRASMUS OPENS UP ABOUT JAYS TENURE, FUTURE, PAST
(14 - 9:01am, Sep 19)
Last: PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth)

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - September 2014
(275 - 5:28am, Sep 19)
Last: Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa

NewsblogUmpire ejects Braves fan for heckling Bryce Harper
(65 - 3:12am, Sep 19)
Last: Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-18-2014
(148 - 1:47am, Sep 19)
Last: boteman is not here 'til October

NewsblogMcCarthy’s immaculate inning highlights Yankees win
(57 - 12:22am, Sep 19)
Last: pthomas

Page rendered in 1.3859 seconds
47 querie(s) executed