In the conclusion of our question and answer session following, Kantrovitz outlines his baseball background, what he has learned at his many stops along the way, his philosophies and much more.
Brian Walton: What kind of additional pressure do you feel, if any, following the recent draft success of Jeff Luhnow?
Dan Kantrovitz: More excitement than pressure. I have a lot of respect for Jeff and the results that were achieved under his watch. But the competitor in me wants to improve and achieve better results.
BW: How did Oakland conduct its scouting and draft processes and how does that differ from the Cardinals?
DK: I can understand that this is something that people might be interested in, but I think you know that's a tough one for me to answer. I would prefer not to get into comparisons of the two organizations. Let's just say both organizations have great scouts and smart processes.
BW: What are you bringing with you from Oakland to implement in St. Louis?
DK: More than anything tangible, I'll bring the experience of leading an extensive worldwide scouting operation.
BW: How will the spending cap as defined in the new CBA alter your approach to the draft?
DK: Like the other MLB teams, we are still figuring that out. Although, I can tell you that a strong emphasis will continue to be on "signability".
BW: Do you feel more or less pressure having five early picks in the 2012 draft?
DK: Our scouts are excited and so am I. If you are in our line of work, this is a great opportunity and a challenge we are all looking forward to.
BW: Might the Cardinals be willing to take more risk because of their quantity of picks?
DK: The number of picks we have does not necessarily alter the overall strategy. While we will certainly consider the overall portfolio in terms of our budget and desired risk/reward profile, our approach will still be to extract as much value as we can out of each individual pick.
BW: What is your view of the earlier signing deadline and how will that affect player development?
DK: I don't have a crystal ball for exactly how the new CBA will affect things but one possibility is that some players sign earlier and get additional at-bats or innings under their belt that first summer out. That's probably a win-win for the player and team.
BW: Drafts take years to evaluate, yet media and fans start doing it the same day. How and when will you look at drafts, both short and long-term?
DK: We are constantly evaluating our results. Shortly after the draft, we'll evaluate our draft based on the process and whether it unfolded the way we expected. Longer term, we will compare a player's actual performance with how we expected him to perform. Then, for example, we can measure to what degree each player met or exceeded those expectations one year, two years, five years down the line. Both the player's actual performance as well as our expectation can be quantified fairly precisely.
BW: Does your criteria to analyze a draft change by year, draft position, player position targets, etc.? If so, how?
DK: That's a good question and probably warrants a longer response. When we evaluate individual draft selections, we factor in where the player was drafted, what position he is, how old he is and a number of other factors as well. As you would imagine, there are usually quite different expectations for players that are drafted higher as opposed to those drafted later down the line. And, without going into too many specifics, our analyses need to appropriately account for those differences.
BW: With Oakland, international operations was a key part of your job and you had some successes, as I recall. Might we expect to see the Cardinals become more aggressive in the East, say Taiwan, Korea, China, etc?
DK: It is always a possibility.
BW: What do you hope to see in your future?
DK: Another ring! And, hopefully some of our soon-to-be draftees contributing to the big league club for years to come.
Special thanks go out to Dan for taking the time to answer these questions during a very busy period, both personally and professionally.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column during the season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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