Luhnow welcomes Ryan to Astros
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has no inhibitions about the team’s hiring of Nolan Ryan, who’s coming aboard as an executive advisor. Ryan will assist not only Luhnow, but also president of business operations Reid Ryan in the operations of the club.
How big of a role Ryan has remains to be seen. He’s not going to be a daily fixture at Minute Maid Park because he prefers to commute occasionally from his home in Georgetown, Texas, but the Astros certainly would be wise to lean heavily on Ryan. He was the CEO of the Rangers, who were successful under his tenure, and he definitely knows a thing or two about pitching.
“He has so much experience and I think he can be used in a variety of ways,” Luhnow said Tuesday. “He definitely is going to have his opinions about our players and opinions about players on other teams. He’ll help us from a player evaluation standpoint ‘cause the more points of views you get, not only on your own players but on players you’re potentially trying to acquire outside the organization, the better off you’re going to be.
“From a player development standpoint, he’s got experience and can help us there. There’s countless areas where he can assist and help out. He’s been part of the game for so long and done so many different types of things.”
Luhnow has helped rebuild the Astros farm system the last two years, and it’s widely considered the deepest in the game. The club has sacrificed success at the Major League level to get that done, but Luhnow believes the Astros are poised to begin trending upward. The arrival of Ryan won’t hinder his plan, which is based heavily on data analysis.
“Clearly Nolan Ryan on board is huge for the city and organization,” he said. “I did spend over an hour with him [two weeks ago] and had several conversations with him prior to that as well, really trying to understand what the role would look like so he was comfortable with it and it made sense. He’s really anxious to help out, he’s anxious to be involved in various areas. The role that ultimately we created for him is going to allow him to help out across all the areas of the organization, which will maximize his impact.”
The Astros have a wealth of young, promising starting pitching – arms that will be able to learn from Ryan, as well as special advisor Roger Clemens.
“He already knows some of our players by being with the Rangers and living near Round Rock (Texas) and seeing Triple-A players and going to Corpus Christi and so forth,” Luhnow said. “He’s got a pretty good feel for our players right now.
“I do expect he’s going to deepen that understanding of our own players and be able to provide his point of view. I don’t know if he’ll go out and see players for the Draft, but our Triple-A players, Double-A, Major League players, he’ll be able to give us valuable opinions about.”