HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have promoted several employees on their baseball operations staff, effective immediately. Seven total employees have received promotions and new titles, including Quinton McCracken (Director of Player Personnel), Brandon Taubman (Director of Baseball Operations), Mike Fast (Director of Research and Development), Allen Rowin (Director of Minor League Operations), Bill Firkus (Director of Sports Medicine and Performance), Pete Putila (Assistant Director of Minor League Operations) and Tom Koch-Weser (Manager of Advance Scouting). The announcement was made by General Manager Jeff Luhnow.
In his new role, McCracken will assist in player personnel decisions across all areas, including free agent acquisitions, trades and amateur signings. He will evaluate players across all categories including amateur and professional, both inside and outside the organization. He will also serve as an advisor to the functional leaders in amateur scouting, professional scouting, player development and international operations. McCracken spent the last three seasons (2013-15) as the club's Director of Player Development.
Taubman has worked in the Astros baseball operations department for parts of three seasons (2013-15), spending the 2015 season as the club's Manager of Baseball Operations. In his new role, he will continue to assist the baseball operations department in contract negotiations, financial planning and roster construction.
Fast joined the organization in February of 2012, serving as an Analyst in the Decision Sciences department for four seasons (2012-15). In his new role, Fast will set the vision for and provide day-to-day operational leadership for the analytical group in baseball operations. He will also continue to assist with player evaluations and player transactions.
Rowin, who has been with the club for nine seasons (2007-15), spent the last three years (2013-15) as the Astros Assistant Director of Player Development. In his new role, Rowin will direct the day-to-day operations of the Astros minor league system. He will play a lead role in the active roster management of the Astros nine minor league teams and will be directly involved in minor league player contract negotiations.
Firkus, who joined the club as a Medical Risk Manager and Analyst in July of 2013, has been promoted to the Astros Director of Sports Medicine and Performance. In his new role, he will oversee the club's medical practices, including injury prevention and rehabilitation.
Putila will become the club's Assistant Director of Minor League Operations after serving the last two seasons (2014-15) as the Astros Coordinator of Baseball Operations. Putila joined the club in January of 2011 and previously served as the organization's Baseball Operations Assistant (2011-13). In his new role, he will assist Rowin in all areas of player development operations.
Koch-Weser joined the Astros in December of 2013 as the club's Coordinator of Advance Information. He spent the last two seasons in that position before his promotion to the club's Manager of Advance Scouting. In his new role, Koch-Weser will assist in player personnel decisions utilizing video scouting methods and will manage the advance and video scouting functions. He will also continue to assist the Astros Major League staff with advance scouting reports and video analysis.