Cubs Name Former Oakland AGM Dan Kantrovitz New VP of Scouting

For all the organizational restructuring the Cubs have done over the last few weeks, most of the change has looked a little like rearranging deck chairs on the Andrea Doria. Which is to say people were just being moved around and given new titles or roles, not all of which actually indicated potential for true paradigm shifts. Wait, does it also mean the Cubs are a sinking ship? Moving on…

The tenor may have changed Wednesday when the Cubs announced the hiring of Dan Kantrovitz as their new VP of scouting. He will replace Matt Dorey, who became senior director of player development as part of those aforementioned moves. The 38-year-old Kantrovitz spent the previous five seasons as an assistant GM for the A’s, prior to which he served as director of scouting for the the Cardinals from 2012-14.

A two-time all-Ivy League shortstop at Brown, Kantrovitz earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior and management in 2001 and was selected by the Cardinals in the 25th round of that year’s MLB draft. Following an injury-shortened professional career, he worked as an investment banking analyst and for a company that provided statistical analysis to MLB teams. He also earned a master’s in statistics from Harvard along the way.

Kantrovitz first got into the front office with the Cardinals in 2004 and held various duties in baseball operations before joining the A’s in 2009. He then spent three seasons in Oakland with responsibilities in international operations and baseball operations analysis before heading back to St. Louis as outlined above.

This is an interesting move because it gives the Cubs a fresh perspective as they seek to place more emphasis on drafting an development moving forward. Kantrovitz has not only had success in those areas, particularly when it comes to drafting players, but he’s done so with organizations that operate with much lower budgets than what the Cubs have had over the past several seasons.

Anyone can hit on a few picks when they’re selecting near the top of the draft year after year, and the Cubs built a title team on a young core of players who were taken in the first round. One area in which they’ve fallen flat, and that doesn’t get as much publicity as their anemic pitching development, is the abject failure to develop any impact talent from outside of the first round.

Whether Kantrovitz can repeat his previous success with the Cubs won’t be known for quite some time, since the ripple effect of his first draft or two won’t be felt in Chicago for a number of years. And again, the real barometer of his acumen will be finding those impact players in later rounds. At the very least, it’s nice to see the Cubs truly bringing in a fresh set of eyes to address a long-running area of need.

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