Scouting director Kantrovitz at home with Cardinals

St. Louis native a lifelong Cards fan

Scouting director Kantrovitz at home with Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- Dan Kantrovitz certainly isn't the only member of the Cardinals' front office staff who wants to see the team fare well during the National League Championship Series.

But the team's third-year scouting director might be the only one who could hear about it, really hear about it, from friends and family if things don't well against the Giants.

Such is life when you're a St. Louis native and a Cardinals fan surrounded by lifelong Cardinals fans.

Bleed red? You have no idea.

"Having ties here, being so familiar with people from the area, there's just something added to it," Kantrovitz said. "Where else would my parents be able to scrutinize my job performance?

"But if anything, it's motivation for me to try to keep things going here."

So far, Kantrovitz, 36, has helped do his part.

Kantrovitz has presided over the team's last three First-Year Player Drafts. Even though the team hasn't drafted higher than No. 19 overall, two of his highest picks -- pitchers Michael Wacha (2012) and Marco Gonzales ('13) -- have already contributed to the success of the big league team and are on the playoff roster.

  Date Recaps Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 11 SF 3, STL 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 12 STL 5, SF 4 video
Gm 3 Oct. 14 SF 5, STL 4 video
Gm 4 Oct. 15 SF 6, STL 4 video
Gm 5 Oct. 16 SF 6, STL 3 video
 

"It's all I've known since I've been here; we haven't picked higher than No. 19," Kantrovitz said. "For me, the takeaway is that there are good players in all parts of the Draft, no matter if you're picking higher or lower. I know as a scouting department, any pick in the first round is exciting to us."

Graduating players from the Minor Leagues to the big leagues each season is vital and necessary, even if many teams aren't always able to do so. The Cardinals get that.

When Game 1 of the NLCS begins at 7:07 p.m. CT Saturday, 16 of the 25 players on the Cardinals active roster will be homegrown.

"We've had some hits and it's been fun to watch guys like Wacha and Gonzales have success. It's fun to watch all of our homegrown guys over the last decade or so," Kantrovitz said. "It's a compliment to our scouting department."

Kantrovitz, who pulled the plug on a promising career in investment banking about a decade ago to get back in baseball, has found his niche again with the Cardinals.

This is his second tour of duty with the Cardinals after a stint with the A's. He counts current Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and Jeff Luhnow, who eventually moved on to become the GM of the Astros, as mentors who helped him during his first stint with the team from 2004-08.

"I learned how to scout under both of those guys," Kantrovitz said.

By the time the Cardinals gave him a full-time job, Kantrovitz had watched plenty of baseball -- especially at old Busch Stadium.

"I'd like to think I remember the '82 World Series," Kantrovitz said, noting that he was 4 years old at the time the Cardinals defeated the Brewers in seven games to win the World Series.

"I don't know if that's a memory that I've created for myself or not. I still have the replica ring they gave out. I remember going to games with my dad, sitting down the line, the turf and watching all the speed demons we had."

Kantrovitz, who attended Rossman Elementary and later John Burroughs School, even got a job with the team in high school -- an unpaid internship of sorts during the 1997-98 seasons.

"There wasn't a whole lot of competition for the job," Kantrovitz said. "It was like, 'here kid, no one else wants the job.' The job itself was more or less going through Mark McGwire's fan mail all day … helping him respond to it. But they let me stay and watch the games for free."

He later played at Brown, where he was an all-Ivy League shortstop and was actually drafted by -- you guessed it -- the Cardinals in the 25th round of the '01 Draft. A shoulder injury cut his playing career short, but started him on a different path (investment banking), which would eventually give way to baseball.

His line of work, as you might imagine, has afforded him the chance to run into many of the players he grew up rooting for as a kid, which never really caused any issues for Kantrovitz until recently.

"Doing this, you rarely get star struck, but recently in our instructional league, we all went to dinner and Willie McGee was there," Kantrovitz said. "It's funny. He's a baserunning instructor for us now and I was tongue-tied trying to talk to him."

But, for the most part, there haven't been a whole lot of drawbacks being the local guy working for the hometown team. Kantrovitz can often sneak away from his office at Busch Stadium for lunch with his wife, Brenna, who is an attorney for the city of St. Louis, two blocks away. They have two daughters, Lily (4) and Vida (2).

Cardinals fans, all of them.

"I feel very fortunate to be in a position to contribute to any Major League team. It's an intense job no matter where you're doing it," Kantrovitz said. "It can be a little unnerving at times when people have an insight into what you're doing. But I welcome it."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.