Astros hire Braves scouting director Dana Brown as general manager. How big is the loss?

Justin Toscano, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Baseball

For outsiders like us – yes, even those who cover the sport – it can be difficult to correctly discern the talent and impact of a certain member of a front office. Tons of factors, and many that we don’t see, go into those jobs.

You can feel pretty comfortable saying this, though: The Braves on Thursday suffered a big loss when the Houston Astros hired Dana Brown, the Braves’ vice president of scouting, to be their new general manager. Brown went from winning a World Series with the Braves to becoming the top baseball-operations executive for the reigning World Series-champion Astros.

“I know that there’s some special things going on here right now,” Brown said during his introductory press conference Thursday. “I want to be a part of that and add to (it) what I can add to (it). A big part of what I really want to do is to sustain the long-term success in what we’re doing here. I think it’s got a chance to be pretty special. I’m excited about it.”

Among what the Astros saw in Brown throughout the process, Houston owner Jim Crane said: “He was very analytics-savvy. He’s a great talent evaluator based upon what we’ve seen at the Braves. Seasoned at player acquisitions, seasoned at player development and retention – they were always able to extend some of their player contracts. … He’s got great people skills. Excellent communicator. And last but not least, he’s a baseball player and knows baseball in and out.”

This leaves the Braves without a vice president of scouting. With spring training weeks away, the Braves don’t have any specific plans to fill the job right now. They’ll reevaluate it after the coming season. (Ronit Shah, the assistant director of amateur scouting who worked under Brown, still is with the Braves).

Since joining the Braves in 2019, Brown helped the Braves stock their farm system with elite talent. Among the players drafted during his tenure as scouting director: Michael Harris, Spencer Strider and Vaughn Grissom, who have all made it to the majors. Brown also drafted Shea Langeliers, who made it to the majors with Oakland.


Brown’s promotion also puts this into perspective: There has been a ton of talent in the Braves’ front office since Alex Anthopoulos took over before the 2018 season. Brown is the second member of Anthopoulos’ front office to leave for a general manager job, joining the Angels’ Perry Minasian. Crane said Anthopoulos “spoke very highly” of Brown.

But let’s get to the question everyone wants to know: How much will the Braves miss Brown?

The simple answer: A lot, even if the Braves should still win a ton of baseball games now and in the future. Brown was a key part of the Braves’ front office, but Anthopoulos should be able to make an outstanding hire when the time comes.

Brown possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience. In scouting, he’s able to blend his gut with the data. His relationship with Anthopoulos goes back many years – Brown hired Anthopoulos in Montreal before Anthopoulos brought Brown to Toronto and Atlanta – and the two trust one another.


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