Last week, I put a survey in the field that asked you to rate how confident you are in your team's front office on a scale of one to five, with five being the most confident. Over 1900 of you responded. Thank you for taking the time, and thank you to the SBNation site managers who helped promote it.
For this edition of the GM Confidence Ratings, we've broken up the results into six posts, tackling one division at a time. Yesterday, we started with the AL East and the NL East. Today, we're moving on to the Centrals. I'll also include the previous rating for each club, which we collected in early August of 2015. The mean for this poll was exceptionally high, with the average team rating at 3.8, which was also the mean for the AL Central as a division. The AL Central also had the largest range of responses of the six divisions.
Ok, so without further ado, here are the results, from most confident to least:
Kansas City Royals - Dayton Moore
Current Rating: 4.7
Previous Rating: 4.5
Your comment: "For years, Dayton Moore played the role of soon-to-be-fired GM all too well, but something happened around the 2011 season that led him to change his ways and work to build a team that's become back-to-back AL Champions and reigning World Champions. A renewed confidence in analytics combined with what I think are the best scouts in the whole sport have made Dayton Moore and his staff one that fans expect to get it right more often than not. And they live up to expectations. What a world." - @DBLesky
My comment: There's nothing I can say about Dayton Moore that isn't already borne out by the results of his team on the field. He's been flexible and willing to learn on the job, made good decisions, and put together the best team in the American League. He's become, quite possibly, the best general manager in baseball, even though he finished third in our poll.
Cleveland Indians - Chris Antonetti
Current Rating: 4.5
Previous Rating: 2.8
Your comment: "Innovative use of new information to maximize value of acquisitions via trade and free agency given the strictures of a mid major market and a cost conscious owner. Following in the footsteps of a solid foundation. A patient but not antiquated approach to the prospects and a willingness to take a chance on high upside in the draft (Aiken)." - @matthewfreier
My comment: Honestly, I'm still not really sure what to make of Antonetti. He's put together a rotation that could potentially be great, has shown that he's savvy to modern analysis, and has built a strong minor league system. The Indians have finished above .500 in each of the last three years, but don't seem to be getting a lot better.
Detroit Tigers - Al Avila
Current Rating: 4.0
Previous Rating: 4.6 (Dombrowski)/3.5 (Avila)
Your comment: "Al Avila worked for years under Dave Dombrowski, but now has emerged as the main man in the front office. By strengthening the bullpen of the Tigers with Francisco Rodriguez, Alex Wilson and Mark Lowe, Avila has proved that he is taking the club in the right direction." - @EvanPetzold
My comment: Avila improved on the Dombrowski model this offseason, bringing in stars (Upton, Zimmerman) like his mentor did while actively remaking the bullpen. It's unclear whether the Tigers still have the core to win the AL Central, but it won't be for lack of trying.
Chicago White Sox - Kenny Williams/Rick Hahn
Current Rating: 3.2
Previous Rating: 3.1
Your comment: "A lot of hits and a lot of misses. A lot of mediocrity without building an elite farm." - @joewho112
My comment: The White Sox have jumped out to a big start and lead the way in the AL Central. I was a big fan of virtually all of their moves this offseason, as they replaced guys who were below replacement level with guys who actually had the potential to perform.
Minnesota Twins - Terry Ryan
Current Rating: 2.6
Previous Rating: 2.9
Your comment: "The Twins' front office has shown the ability to recover from years of losing by rebuilding the farm system over a course of many years. In fact Terry Ryan has done this twice over the last couple of decades. However, he also seems incapable of taking advantage of being high on the success cycle and giving the team a chance to be better-than-good, and the last time it was time to take such a chance he stepped aside in favor of a hand-picked successor (Bill Smith) who proved himself to be incapable from the start, made moves that even that the time it was clear would cause years of mediocre teams ahead, and then moved into another front office role once the hard parts were done and Terry Ryan could return for another 7 year rebuild." - @sirsean
My comment: Terry Ryan doesn't get enough credit for developing a farm system full of talent (nor does Bill Smith, for that matter). That said, it's totally unclear to me that he has the ability, or the instinct, to go for the jugular and build a great team, and is still very dismissive of modern analysis. Ryan was the lowest ranked General Manager in the American League, and the second worst in baseball.