Laurila: Q&A with Michael Girsch, St. Louis Cardinals’ assistant GM

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on November 22, 2013:

The St. Louis Cardinals have a well-earned reputation as one of the best organizations in baseball. From scouting to player development to the Win column, they excel in all areas. The people putting the pieces together are a big reason why.

Michael Girsch, the club’s assistant general manager, is part of that brain trust. Working under GM John Mozeliak, Girsch is a perfect fit for a front office that integrates analytics into The Cardinal Way. The 37-year-old has a math degree from Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. 


Girsch on being hired by the Cardinals: “I had finished business school and was working for a consulting firm in Chicago. I always wanted to be the GM of a baseball team when I grew up, and I was pretty well grown up, so I decided to at least give it a shot. I wrote a research paper on the amateur draft, putting a dollar value on draft picks, based on recent history. I sent this out to a bunch of teams.

“I got lucky. Mo [John Mozeliak] opened my email, and I ended up talking to him a couple of times. When they had a job opening that fall — coordinator of amateur scouting — I interviewed for it. It was an entry-level position, and while my background was in finance and economics — analytics-related stuff — it was a step toward doing what I’d always wanted to do. My lovely wife, who was pregnant at the time while raising 18-month-old twins, somehow agreed that moving, and taking a big pay cut, so I could chase my dream, was a good idea.

“At the time, I didn’t know very much. I was an informed outsider. I read Baseball Prospectus, Rob Neyer and Baseball America. I wasted probably too much time reading baseball stories when I was supposed to be doing consulting work. But I didn’t have any inside knowledge. I hadn’t played in college, and didn’t know anyone who played in the minor leagues. I didn’t know how things really worked until I got a job in baseball.”


Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 22, 2013. Last Updated: November 22, 2013.