According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Cardinals have hired Dan Kantrovitz to be their director of amateur scouting. Kantrovitz comes over from the Oakland A’s where he was their coordinator of baseball operations and international operations. Kantrovitz has previously played in the Cardinals organization and worked as their scouting director for college athletes. The hiring fills the void left by the departure of Jeff Luhnow, who is the new general manager for the Houston Astros. With the new collective bargaining agreement in place and taking on several new rules, the position is a very important one in the organization.
Kantrovitz is a good selection as he knows the organization and has held a similar position with the A’s, a team noted for executing the draft well. He has the added benefit of being a former player which in my opinion goes a long way to evaluating talent. Add that to the undergraduate degree from Brown University in analytics plus the master’s degree in statistics from Harvard and you have a very well rounded person responsible for maintaining a minor league system that is already in a good position.
The new rules of the collective bargaining agreement surrounding the amateur draft will be difficult to navigate for the first and maybe second drafts until everyone gets the hang of the nuances, and figure out the loopholes, if any. Since there is a limit on the amount teams can spend without penalty, it is important that scouting directors be able to see the hidden treasures who will not cost a lot of money to sign. It should be noted that players are no longer eligible to receive a major league contract, so any incentive is paid through a signing bonus.
The Cardinals have four selections among the first 52 spots in the 2012 amatuer draft (#19, #23, #36, and #50). So, Kantrovitz will be put to the test rather quickly. These are good picks to have as they will not cost the Cardinals too much of their bonus pool. It also plays in their favor to have four picks in the first two rounds because it gives them a better chance of landing a bonafide prospect. The draft can be tricky once the top players are selected, so Kantrovitz will have to use his analytical mind along with an old fashioned scouts’ eye in order to succeed.