MLB's Top 10 general manager prospects

MLB's Top 10 general manager prospects

Before he guided the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years, Theo Epstein also ended another famous title drought by building a pair of championship clubs with the Red Sox. As Boston's general manager, he assembled an impressive array of talent not only on the field but also in the front office, with Josh Byrnes, Ben Cherington, Jerry Dipoto, Mike Hazen and Jed Hoyer going on to become GMs themselves.

The number of Epstein lieutenants destined for higher office continues to grow. MLBPipeline.com's list of baseball's top GM prospects starts with Jason McLeod, and also includes Jared Porter, both of whom worked with Epstein in Boston before rejoining him in Chicago, and Amiel Sawdaye, who served under him with the Red Sox. We surveyed more than a dozen baseball officials to refine our Top 10, which includes only executives without GM experience.

Our original lists included then-Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine and then-Rays vice president of baseball operations Erik Neander. We decided to hold this story until the GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., this week, and in the interim the Twins hired Levine as GM and the Rays promoted Neander to the same position.

1. Jason McLeod, Cubs senior vice president, player development and amateur scouting
One of baseball's best evaluators, the 44-year-old McLeod has overseen a series of strong drafts in Boston (Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Josh Reddick, Anthony Rizzo) and Chicago (Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber) that contributed mightily to championships. One-third of the Cubs' inner circle with Epstein and GM Hoyer, he's equally comfortable with scouting and analytics, and he's media-savvy to boot.

2. J.J. Picollo, Royals assistant GM/vice president, player personnel
Picollo, 45, worked with Royals GM Dayton Moore in Atlanta and was one of his first hires in Kansas City, where he has risen from farm director to overseeing the farm and scouting departments to all of player personnel. His background also includes stints as a college assistant coach and an area scouts, and he's praised for his evaluating and leadership skills.

3. Kyle Stark, Pirates assistant GM
Just 38, Stark went with Neal Huntington from Cleveland to Pittsburgh when Huntington was hired as the Pirates' GM. Stark first served as the club's farm director and was elevated to the position of assistant GM in September 2011. Most of his background is on the player development side, but since becoming an AGM, he has assisted Huntington in all facets of running an organization.

4. Doug Harris, Nationals assistant GM/vice president, player personnel
Harris has an outstanding resume in both scouting and player development. The 46-year-old worked in the Rangers' scouting department for years, then served as the Nationals' farm director before getting bumped up to his AGM position. In that role, he has proven to be an indispensable resource for GM Mike Rizzo.

5. Chaim Bloom, Rays senior vice president, baseball operations
While the 33-year-old's name was mentioned as a potential hire in Minnesota and Neander was chosen as the man to hold the GM title in Tampa, Bloom did have his role expanded and his title changed to senior VP for baseball operations. The Yale grad who started with the Rays as an intern back in 2005 is known for his knowledge of analytics, but not at the expense of scouting and development.

6. Michael Girsch, Cardinals assistant GM
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak's right-hand man, the 40-year-old Girsch fits the profile of many recent GM hires. He has a mathematics degree from the Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Chicago, he's well versed in analytics and he worked to integrate statistics with scouting as the director of the club's baseball development department.

7. Dan Kantrovitz, Athletics assistant GM
Kantrovitz, 38, has bona fides on both the scouting and analytical sides, having served two stints as Cardinals scouting director sandwiched around getting a master's degree in statistics from Harvard. He worked in analysis and international operations for the A's from 2009-11 before returning to the club in November to replace Farhan Zaidi, who became GM of the Dodgers.

8. Jared Porter, D-backs senior vice president/assistant GM
Porter, 36, spent 12 years with the Red Sox, including his last four as their pro scouting director, before joining Theo and company in Chicago in September 2015. Just over a year later, and less than a week after the Cubs won the World Series, he was snatched up by the D-backs. Porter is known as an excellent evaluator of talent and one who scouts have raved about working for him. His name came up in early reports of candidates for the Twins job.

9. Matt Arnold, Brewers assistant GM/vice president
Arnold served as the Rays' director of player personnel after being that club's pro scouting director, working for the Rays in a variety of capacities from 2006-2015. The 37-year-old was hired by the Brewers in October 2015 and assists in every aspect of baseball operations, from player evaluations to analytics and contract negotiations.

10. Amiel Sawdaye, Diamondbacks assistant GM
Sawdaye, 39, joined the Red Sox as a baseball operations intern in 2002 and rose to scouting director in 2010 and vice president for international and amateur scouting in 2015 before leaving Boston to follow Hazen to Arizona. He earns high marks for his intelligence and people skills, and he spearheaded the integration of statistics and video into Red Sox scouting.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook. Listen to them on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.