"The coaches have done a really good job of identifying how to work with each individual athlete," said Jeff Luhnow, who's in his eighth season as the Astros' general manager. "We've always said that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to player development. It's especially so in today's world because you really can customize a player development plan for each athlete, and that’s what we do and that's what we've been doing for the past three or four years. And I think our (coaches) have enough experience doing it now and our players trust our coaches and are willing to go ahead and take the plunge and try something new."At the major-league level, the Astros, under pitching coach Brent Strom, have developed a reputation for unlocking pitchers whose repertoires weren't maximized elsewhere. But for every Charlie Morton or Ryan Pressly, there are countless minor leaguers who can also stand to improve their deliveries and the qualities of their pitches or alter their pitch usage.The Astros don't wait for pitchers to reach the majors or even Double A before using data and technology to analyze the qualities of their pitches. The process begins as soon as they enter the system. And at every level of the organization, pitchers are trained to pitch to a game plan that's based off TrackMan information that has been distilled by their internal interface.
The Astros invested heavily in technology early on, but that's only part of the story. Houston's player development system is loaded with coaches who understand the technology and can translate the information for young pitchers. Technology and data are wonderful, but it's essentially useless if they can't be imparted to the players in an understandable manner. It could even be harmful, giving young pitchers too much to think about rather than arming them with a game plan to develop and hone their skills.
Emulating what clubs like the Astros and Dodgers have done requires investment in technology and personnel. But it also takes creating a repeatable methodology to properly use the available tools, and identifying the right people to help the team achieve its goals. Beyond all that, a great organization must constantly question and refine its methods, continually evaluating and implementing the new cutting-edge technology constantly being introduced.
It took Houston several years to institute and reap the rewards of what they do. It won't all happen for the Mets right away. In the best case, they are most likely 2 or 3 years away from reaping the benefits of current upgrades to player development. However, I think there are still areas where the Mets can improve right now to save money in some areas of their roster. This will allow the Mets to compete in 2023 without raising the payroll to a level far above all other teams.