The Houston Astros mastered the blueprint that the Chicago Cubs established when the team won the World Series in 2016.
Through the development of their prospects at the Major League level and pulling the right levers in terms of free agent signings to compliment a roster that is a perennial World Series contender, the Astros, sign-stealing scandal aside, have become the organization to imitate.
That would be the reason why the front office hire that the Cubs made on Monday was excellent.
The Cubs announced on Monday that they hired Astros' hitting coach Jason Kanzler to serve as their new director of player development. Kanzler had an important role on the Astros' team that won the World Series in 2022 as Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic (Subscription Required) pointed out the important role that Kanzler had on Astros' shortstop Jeremy Peña.
Kanzler's addition to the Cubs' front office could not come at a more important time. It's likely that over the course of the next two seasons, the top position player prospects in the Cubs' farm system--Pete Crow-Armstrong, Kevin Alcantara, Matt Shaw, Owen Caissie, and Alexander Canario will be making their way to Wrigley Field. As much as it will be important that those players have a path to consistent playing time, it will be equally important that their development continues once arriving at the Major League level.
Another important aspect of the hire for the Cubs is that this is a new voice coming to the organization. Not only is Kanzler coming in from outside of the organization but he was a pivotal member of a team that has routinely hit on player development.