Houston Astros, aka St. Louis Cardinals South

Recapping the many former St. Louis Cardinals currently employed by the Houston Astros.

When Jeff Luhnow was hired as the general manager of the Houston Astros in December 2011, it was expected that he would bring along some familiar faces from his previous employer, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Just over two years later, as Houston prepares for its maiden voyage into the American League, the number of recent ex-Cardinals currently employed by the Astros has swelled to at least 16, including Luhnow himself.

Mejdal
Luhnow's front office features three with strong Cardinals ties. Sig Mejdal, Houston's director of decision sciences, joined almost immediately from St. Louis, where he had most recently been director, amateur draft analytics.

A key member of the Cardinals scouting management team, Mike Elias, was lured south last January. His Astros title is special assistant to the general manager/scouting, but think of him as the director of amateur scouting.

Oz Ocampo joined the Astros at the end of August as their director of international. Ocampo was with St. Louis from 2005-10, before joining Major League Baseball as a specialist in international baseball operations. With the Cardinals, Ocampo worked in the Latin American program as well as in amateur scouting in the US.

Though long-time Tony La Russa bench coach Joe Pettini was let go after serving the 2012 season in the same role for Houston, the Cardinals flavor on the major league staff remains strong. New manager Bo Porter's coaches include three with recent Cardinals ties - assistant hitting coach Dan Radison, bullpen coach Dennis Martinez and bullpen catcher Jeff Murphy.

Radison, a long-time minor league coach in the Cardinals system, left his post as the organization's minor league hitting coordinator in 2009. He then spent two seasons as the Washington Nationals' first base coach.

El Presidente tutoring Shelby Miller
Dennis "El Presidente" Martinez won 245 games as a major league pitcher. The Nicaraguan native later coached Cardinals pitching prospects for six seasons - at Springfield, in the Gulf Coast League and most recently at Palm Beach. His new bullpen catcher partner with Houston, Jeff Murphy, was not retained in the same job with the Cardinals when Tony La Russa retired.

On the field, the Houston club has two former Cardinals on its 40-man roster and three more coming to 2013 major league camp as non-roster invitees. Shortstop Tyler Greene and first baseman Brett Wallace, both originally first-round draft picks selected by Luhnow for the Cardinals, are vying for infield jobs.

Outfielder Rick Ankiel, reliever Chuckie Fick and second baseman Jose Martinez will also be in camp trying to crack the opening day roster. Ankiel is joining his fourth organization in four years since departing St. Louis as a free agent following the 2009 season. The Cardinals had been his only home for his first 13 years as a professional.

The Astros claimed Fick off waivers from St. Louis last July, but removed the right-hander from the 40-man roster in November. Jose Martinez, no relation to Dennis, is once-promising second baseman from Venezuela released by the Cardinals in the spring of 2011 after injury and off-field tragedy.

Once Dennis Martinez left the Cardinals organization, the Astros acquired his son, Ricky from St. Louis. Not considered a prospect, the 24-year-old right-hander finished last season at Class-A Quad Cities.

Dyar Miller
Three recent Cardinals coaches work on the Astros' player development staff. Long-time Cardinals minor league pitching coordinator Dyar Miller begins his first season in the same role for Houston. Miller served one year as the Cardinals major league bullpen coach before being let go following the 2012 post-season.

Astros roving hitting instructor Jeff Albert spent the last five seasons with the Cardinals, including 2009-2012 as the Palm Beach hitting coach. Doug White, the new pitching coach for Houston's New York-Penn League club, also put in five years with the Cards. He was Johnson City's pitching coach in each of the last four summers.

Other former Cardinals players, further removed, on the Astros staffs include major league bench coach Eduardo Perez and minor league instructors Tom Lawless and Vince Coleman. Like Pettini, they are not included in the total of 16 who are noted below as current Astros and recent former Cardinals.

Front office (4) Direct from StL Last w/StL
Jeff Luhnow yes 2011
Sig Mejdal yes 2012
Mike Elias yes 2012
Oz Ocampo no 2010
MLB coaches (3)
Dan Radison no 2009
Dennis Martinez yes 2012
Jeff Murphy yes* 2011
40-man roster (2)
Tyler Greene yes* 2012
Brett Wallace no 2009
Non-roster invitees (3)
Rick Ankiel no 2009
Chuckie Fick yes 2012
Jose Martinez yes* 2011
Minor leaguers (1)
Ricky Martinez yes* 2012
Minors coaches (3)
Dyar Miller yes* 2012
Jeff Albert yes 2012
Doug White yes 2012
*traded/not retained




Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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