Results tagged ‘ Mike Elias ’

Astros hoping to sign Nix, Marshall

Astros scouting director Mike Elias was back at work Sunday in Houston trying to sign some of the 41 players the club drafted over three days. Two of his most challenging players to sign will be pitchers Jacob Nix (fifth round) and Mac Marshall (21st), both of whom are firmly committed to college.

Nix, a 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher from Los Alamitos High School in California, has committed to attend UCLA. Marshall is a 6-foot-2 right-hander from suburban Atlanta that has committed to LSU. Both would have been drafted higher had they not been so firm in their college commits.

Still, Elias believes the Astros have a shot to sign both. They were two of only four high school players the Astros took from among their 41 picks.

“Mac Marshall has a very strong commitment to LSU,” he said. “It was somebody that we saw on the board that late and drafted him on the off chance that we would be able to sign him. We’re certainly going to make an attempt to do everything within our power and within our financial capabilities. I don’t think it’s going to be a real easy sign for us.”

Nix is a good friend of No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken, who the Astros hope will sway Nix away from UCLA.

“The kid is really tantalizing high school right-hander,” Elias said. “He’s huge. Our scouts compare him physically to Mark Prior. He’s got a really good arm and we see a lot of potential in him, especially with our pitching coach and the way they like to teach. We feel he would be a good fit for our system.

“We knew going into the Draft he was going to be an expensive sign. Being we took him in the fifth round, we wouldn’t have taken him that early if we weren’t confident in the fact we were going to sign him. I am optimistic about that one.”

Elias hits the ground running for the Astros

Mike Elias, named by the Astros as their new director of scouting on Saturday, was at San Diego’s Petco Park on Sunday to watch some of the top high school players compete in the Perfect Game All-American Classic.

Elias, 29, will oversee amateur scouting and the Draft. He joined the Astros in January as a special assistant to the general manager/scouting. Prior to joining Houston, Elias had been in the Cardinals organization since 2007 where he served as a scout before being promoted to manager of amateur scouting.

“It’s an exciting time, and it’s certainly an exciting challenge going forward, sort of continuing the progress we’ve got going,” Elias said. “There’s a lot of positive signs and we’re sort of hoping to add to that and continue to make progress via the Draft. It’s been a busy couple of days here and it’s been hectic. You hear from a lot of friends and people throughout the industry. It’s a big challenge, but I’m ready.”

The Astros had the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft and will likely have it again for the second year in a row in 2013. Elias understands the importance of being able to take advantage of every Draft, especially when you’re rebuilding.

“When you pick as high as we did [this] year and it looks like we’ll be doing it again next year, the stakes are even higher,” he said. “Fortunately, we’ve been preparing for this. Our scouts and our department have done a great job preparing for next year’s Draft. We spent the whole summer scouring college summer leagues, high school showcases and basically getting our ducks in a row for the next spring time when the gun goes off and you have four or five months to line up the Draft board.”

Elias said next year’s Draft will have pockets of talent, with lots of good high school pitching, especially left-handers, and some good college arms and catching depth.

“It’s probably comparable in talent overall as [this] year’s Draft,” Elias said.

Heck ‘disappointed’ contract not renewed

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow made a significant change to his baseball operations staff Saturday by naming Mike Elias as scouting director to replace Bobby Heck, whose contract won’t be renewed.

Elias, who joined the Astros in January as a special assistant to the general manager/scouting, will oversee amateur scouting and the First-Year Player Draft. Heck, whose contract expires this fall, has been with the Astros for nearly five years.

“Bobby has been a key part of the front office for the past five years and has been instrumental in helping build the pipeline for the future,” Luhnow said in a statement. “His legacy here includes several high-ceiling players like [Delino] DeShields, [George] Springer, [Mike] Foltynewicz, and [Vincent] Velasquez – all top prospects in our system.”

Heck joined the Astros after the 2007 season and oversaw the Astros’ last five Drafts, during which Houston drafted catcher Jason Castro, pitcher Jordan Lyles, up-and-coming prospects DeShields Jr. and Springer, as well as No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa this year.

“I’m disappointed,” Heck said. “Obviously, I’ve invested the last five years of my life into it and arguably the hardest five years of my baseball life trying to get this back on track, and time will show that we put a major dent in that, not only myself but the staff we were able to put together here.

“I also know that in change of ownership, change of front office, change of leadership, it’s always a business as well. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity I was given here with the Astros and I’m just disappointed I’m going to have to watch the success we have added to the pipeline from afar.”

Heck took over a Minor League system that was in poor shape after some subpar Drafts, but he helped get it back to respectability during his tenure.

“I think looking back at the five years, you could say ‘mission accomplished,’” Heck said. “There are some things we would do differently, but the production from the five Drafts has started to show itself in Houston and also in the Minor Leagues, and a lot of those players will play here a long time and make this a contending club once again.”

Elias, 29, had been in the Cardinals organization since 2007 where he served as a scout before being promoted to manager of amateur scouting. Over the past several seasons, Elias has scouted domestically and internationally at both the amateur and professional levels.

“Mike has a keen eye for talent and a unique ability to blend scouting opinions with other valuable information like the players’ makeup, performance history or medical risk,” Luhnow said. “I’ve worked with Mike for many years now and believe his leadership and evaluation skills will help us maximize the output of our drafts for years to come.”

Luhnow, others receive championship rings

Former Cardinals front-office employees Mike Elias, Sig Mejdal and Jeff Luhnow receive their 2011 World Series championship rings on Wednesday.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, director of decision sciences Sig Mejdal and special assistant to the GM/scouting Mike Elias each received their 2011 St. Louis Cardinals World Series rings prior to Wednesday’s game at Minute Maid Park.

Astros bench coach Joe Pettini, who was former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa’s right-hand man for 10 years, received his in the clubhouse a few moments earlier.

The rings were presented by Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and general manager John Mozielak in Luhnow’s booth. For Luhnow, it’s 10th ring in either the Minors or the Majors while with the Cardinals.

“We work hard in this industry, we work long hours and the reward is when you get win a championship,” said Luhnow, who was hired from the Cardinals in December and quickly brought Mejdal and Elias to Houston. “The celebration and being able to get hardware like this is why we do this, why we’re in this industry. I was glad to be a part of it, and I can’t wait until we do the same thing here in Houston. That’s my ultimate goal.”

DeWitt, who hired Luhnow into the industry in 2003, was pleased to be able to present his former employees with the hardware.

“We’re really pleased to be herd and these guys did such a great job for us,” Dewitt said. “We’re happy to come up here and personally present it. It’s a great honor for us to come do it, and they deserve it.”

Dewitt expects Luhnow to be successful in Houston.

“He’s had a great start with the Draft,” Dewitt said. “We’re all very impressed with that. We hated to lose all of them, but that will speak well for Houston over the years. I’m sure [the Astros] will have a good team before long.”

Elias worked under Luhnow from 2007-11 and as area scout and later as manager of amateur scouting with crosschecking responsibilities. Mejdal worked with the Cardinals from 2005-11, most recently as director of amateur draft analytics.

“It’s a great reminder of the five years with the Cardinals and everything we exprerineced there,” Elias said. “They gave me my first opportunity in baseball – Jeff, Sig, Mo and Mr. DeWitt – and this is probably the best keepsake you could have from something like that. There’s a lot of pride in wearing it.”

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr, GM John Mozielak present Astros GM Jeff Luhnow with his 2011 World Series championship ring.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow shows off his 2011 World Series championship ring.

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr, GM John Mozielak present Astros director of decision sciences Sig Mejdal with his 2011 World Series championship ring.

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr, GM John Mozielak presented Astros assistant to the GM/scouting Mike Elias with his 2011 World Series championship ring.

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