Stan Kasten has spent a lifetime building successful baseball teams. He became the Los Angeles Dodgers’ new President and CEO, as well as a part-owner, when the team was sold to Guggenheim Baseball Management in May 2012. He served as President of the Washington Nationals from 2006 to 2010. He was an executive with the Atlanta Braves organization from 1987 to 2003, spearheading the team’s dynastic run to 12 consecutive division titles from 1991 to 2003. He oversaw the construction of Turner Field and Philips Arena, and also served as president of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers.
Kasten was a featured speaker at the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference on Friday, March 8, 2013, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Video: Watch One on One with Stan Kasten and SABR President Vince Gennaro (YouTube)
Audio: Listen to One on One with Stan Kasten, interviewed by SABR President Vince Gennaro (42:40; 39.0 MB)
Here are some more highlights:
ON BEING HIRED AS AN NBA GM AT AGE 25
- “You have to have a unique owner, and I did, maybe the most unique ever in Ted Turner. When he does something off the charts like that, it seems to work out. … Was I in over my head? You bet. That meant I had to work extra hard, which I did. And it kind of worked out. … It was intimidating, because I didn’t have any natural circle of colleagues. I wasn’t a former player and I hadn’t been in the business very long. So I had to build that up while studying real hard on what I needed to do.”
ON WORKING AS A GM IN TWO SPORTS
- “By the time Ted asked me to take over the team [Braves], we were a last-place team with the highest payroll in baseball. Which is almost hard to do if you’re trying to do it on purpose! That’s a bad situation. I didn’t want to do it … Ted said, ‘Do it in addition to the Hawks. You’ll be the only guy running two teams.’ I said, ‘Ted, that’s such a bad idea.’ But Ted had and I had an understanding, when we disagreed on something, we just did things his way. And that’s how I took over.”
ON WHAT IT TAKES TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL BASEBALL TEAM
- “It’s not a secret formula. I believe you build baseball teams, and those that have sustained success, are built on scouting and player development. … That requires a great front office staff and great scouts and great tools, which more and more include analytics behind scouts. And that’s it.”
ON THE DODGERS’ USE OF STATISTICAL ANALYSIS
- “Like with everything, I had ownership supper to turn the dial to the right on everything — stadium experience, payroll, hiring scouts. And it’s the same way with analytics. … I knew pretty early on that we needed more scouts, and the best scouts that we could find. So we did a lot of that last summer. And I feel the same way about analytics. We do a good job, about middle of the pack, and I want to get to the top of the pack. So we’re looking into systems acquisition, hardware acquisition, and also more people to do a lot of that. … Now personally, I’m probably 60/40 scouts versus analytics, if you can even quantify that. And there’s a reason I got to that position. But I want the best scouts I can have, and the best data interpretation I can have, so ultimately we can make the best decisions we can make.”
For more coverage of the 2013 SABR Analytics Conference, visit SABR.org/analytics.
Originally published: March 18, 2013. Last Updated: July 27, 2020.