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. This morning was the AL Central's turn. Now, we're moving on to the NL Central. 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, but fans in the NL Central were especially upbeat about their clubs, with an average of 4.2. In fact, that's the highest mark of any division in baseball.
Ok, so without further ado, here are the results, from most confident to least:
Chicago Cubs - Theo Epstein/Jed Hoyer
Current Rating: 4.9
Previous Rating: 4.9
Your comment: "In my 30+ years of following the Cubs I've never seen such a total investment in every aspect of winning. From player development, drafting, FA signings, to universal franchise philosophy running through all minor league teams it is amazing. I know the Cubs have looked good in the past and fallen flat, but they've never had a foundation for success so deeply rooted in a strategy so well thought out and executed." - @kbdekker
My comment: Theo and Jed have built a strong and deep farm system that's borne significant fruit already, and a powerhouse of a major league club that may well wind up with the best record in baseball. There's no doubt that the Cubs will win at least one world championship under their leadership.
Milwaukee Brewers - David Stearns
Current Rating: 4.6
Previous Rating: 3.9 (Doug Melvin)
Your comment: "Stearns has quickly turned around the farm system and has brought in a lot of interesting names at low cost, some of which will be on the 2020 World Series winning Milwaukee Brewers." - Anonymous
My comment: So far, Stearns has done a fantastic job sending off unnecessary parts of a team in decline. He's replaced them with short term contracts that can be easily flipped while remaking a totally bare farm system. It'll take a couple of years, but the Brewers are going to be alright.
Pittsburg Pirates - Neal Huntington
Current Rating: 4.4
Previous Rating: 4.1
Your comment: "Their approach in finding new, creative and sometimes subtle advantages has been proven to work, especially for a small market team. They have stuck to their plan, and have produced three playoff appearances for a beleaguered and desperate fanbase. They've now hit the postseason for the same number of years as the Bonds/Bonilla/Van Slyke era, with a great shot at adding to that number in the next five years. In my opinion, they've earned trust and respect for sticking to a plan that was tough to see during a few 95 and 100+ loss seasons, and their patience and intuition have paid off." - Anonymous
My comment: I'm incredibly impressed with how the Pirates have grown and learned over the last several seasons to become one of the savviest teams in baseball. Neal Huntington is the guy in the middle of all that, and should be a far bigger deal, nationally, than he is.
St. Louis Cardinals - John Mozeliak
Current Rating: 4.2
Previous Rating: 4.5
Your comment: "I had more confidence in the leadership before the beginning of this season. I still feel that our team is in good hands, but i think we need to ralize that our farm system is not where it was 4 years ago. We are in a building mode in out lower levels and we dont have the guy who will come up and make an impact right away. We need to look outside to fill our holes rather than try to put someone in there and hope that they out perform predictions." - Anonymous
My comment: A decade and a half of success builds a lot of trust, and John Mozeliak is responsible for much of that. That said, a lackluster offseason and a .500 start might indicate that the bloom is off the rose.
Cincinnati Reds - Dick Williams
Current Rating: 3.0
Previous Rating: 2.7 (Walt Jocketty)
Your comment: "The Reds seem to make deals recently from a position of weakness--waiting on Chapman, insisting on Peraza for Frazier even when trading with a 3rd-party team. The GM-in-waiting period (and the nepotism) involved with the Dick Williams transition do not inspire me with confidence." - Anonymous
My comment: While it's way too early to pass final judgment, every move the Reds made this offseason was underwhelming. Williams is going to have to do better if the Reds are going to bounce back.