QUESTION: What do you make of the narrative the Cardinals have suffered a 'brain drain' in recent years? Pundits are making the argument that the exit of Jeff Luhnow (above) and the subsequent staff turnover has negatively impacted the way the Cardinals draft/scout/evaluate talent.
GOOLD: There's some truth to it. Definitely some truth to the brain drain. There's even more legend. And, unfortunately, there have been some recent examples of Liberty Valance school of punditry: "Print the legend."
Luhnow, no doubt, deserves a lot of credit for building the Cardinals' analytics deptartment and for fortifying the farm system, but he did not do it alone. Several of the people essential to that process are still with the Cardinals: LaRocque, Moises Rodriguez, Mozeliak, and Girsch. For some reason, Luhnow continues to get credit in some circles for things that Mozeliak did as assistant general manager or that Kantrovitz did after Luhnow had left. He went to Houston in 2011.
Consider the players who are now part of the team that were drafted AFTER he was no longer in charge of the draft. In the time since Luhnow left, the Cardinals have continued to develop pitching -- a skill they had under his watch and a skill that was sharpened under Mozeliak's direction, according to scouts.
The Cardinals have been less successful when it comes to developing position players. Again, something that was also a hallmark of Luhnow's drafts, which included Zach Cox and Brett Wallace, both of whom were flipped in deals, a lot like they would do now with some position player prospects. What Luhnow has done in Houston is impressive. How he made moves at the deadline this year were masterful, to be sure. He's a strong GM. But he also didn't draft Kris Bryant when he had the chance. A move even he admits to regret.
He deserves tons of credit for what he helped the Cardinals achieve and what he has done in Houston. Just not all of the credit for things that happened after he left.