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Cardinals assistant GM Michael Girsch provides some insight into how the front office operates

Nov 22, 2013, 11:00 PM EDT

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak AP

David Laurila of FanGraphs had the opportunity to pepper Cardinals assistant general manager Michael Girsch with some questions. Girsch provided a great deal of insight into how the team operates in the front office under GM John Mozeliak.

The Cardinals, of course, fell two games shy of winning their second championship in three years as a direct result of having one of baseball’s most modern approaches to player evaluation. They were beaten by the Red Sox, a team that is at the forefront of front office modernization. Observing the success these teams have enjoyed in recent years, more and more teams are embracing analytics, using it side-by-side with scouting information. Only a handful of teams, most notably the Phillies, do not use analytics in some form.

Anyway, as much as I’d like to quote the entire article here, I’ll just quote one part that was of particular interest, then send you off to FanGraphs to read the rest.

On the RedBirdDog and Dashboard systems: “[RedBirdDog] is what we call our report-writing system. Scouting reports for amateur and pro, international, minor-league game reports, player-development progress reports — all of that is done through a website we call RedBirdDog. It’s basically a data-entry system for our staff to create reports.

“On the front office side, we have a separate site we call The Dashboard. It’s not for high-level summary data, but rather where we go for information on players. Everything we have about a player is there, from medical history, scouting reports from before and after he was drafted — all of that is in one place. Basically, we use The Dashboard to summarize and review those reports.

“We also have systems on the major-league side for advance scouting purposes. We have an advance-scouting portal that makes data — things like spray charts — available to our major-league staff. We have a group in our clubhouse doing video advance work, using BATS, to help the staff with advance scouting.”

  1. andreweac - Nov 23, 2013 at 3:18 AM

    Apparently every GM should trade with whomever is in charge of the Angels. Seems to be a good place to start.

  2. gibbyfan - Nov 23, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Great article. Sounds similar to the movie Moneyball. Good to think that maybe their system had a high rating on the minor league player from the Angels in the Freese deal.

  3. aphillieated - Nov 23, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Ruben Amaro should trade himself for Michael Girsch

  4. APBA Guy - Nov 23, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Terrific interview, amazing detail. The bar for a job in MLB front offices has definitely risen, now it’s an advanced degree in a computational field from a top university. That gets you an entry level position. Could Billy Beane get a job today?

    As to the substance of his comments, I was struck by four things:

    – reality based observations backed by quantifiable indices
    – common sense application of these indices to teaching and scouting
    – application of technology to information sharing
    – Matheny’s role as being in charge of certain scouting activities

    The overall conclusion is that these are very smart people at the Cardinals, using modern tools to make reality based decisions. That’s a formula for long lasting success.

  5. gibbyfan - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    I have no idea about the intracacies of these models but from what I read here is makes you wonder what the models indiacate about long term huge $$ contracts to aging vets. Also — I think I read recently that the Phils were going to start catching up a bit on the use of technology.

    • paperlions - Nov 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      The Phillies really aren’t catching up. All they did was rent (yes, rent) a guy that has experience using basic traditional stats to prepare arbitration cases. They aren’t hiring a real analytical sabermetrician, or anyone with experience in computer models, or anyone with experience created metrics or running an analytical or decision science department. In fact, they are probably doing less (i.e. making fewer changes to how they use information to make decisions) than the average team that already is highly involved in such practices. They are probably actually falling farther behind.

      • gibbyfan - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        Sounds like that might put them at a serious disadvantage

      • gibbyfan - Nov 23, 2013 at 5:32 PM

        Of course they have done all right..back in the day they stole from us one the greatest lefthanders in the history of the game…..

  6. jdillydawg - Nov 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    My kid loves this stuff. He’s gonna be great in the Cards front office one day!

    Just as long as he can survive fifth grade…

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