Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Twins 2016: Diamond Treasure

If you're not familiar with this award designation, that's more than understandable. After reading through Patrick Reusse's Turkey of the Year last fall, I found myself moved to create a designation for the Minnesota Twins. The Diamond Treasure award was designed to shed light upon an area of the organization that provides excitement for the future while displaying roots in the past.

A season ago, the Diamond Treasure was given to Miguel Sano. After being talked about as a prospect for so long, and then producing at the big league level, Sano exemplified everything the Diamond Treasure is supposed to be about. He has long been a part of the organization's future, and finally, it all came to fruition at the big league level. While 2016 was far from what will likely be his best major league campaign, he continued to flash the promise that has long made him a can't miss prospect.

Looking ahead to the 2016 Diamond Treasure, there's a handful of ways the award could go. Top prospects such as Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios have just started to scratch the surface of their future potential, and both have long been heralded as key pieces of the future. Joe Mauer saw another tough season at the plate, but provided a near Gold Glove worthy performance in the field and has long been a Twins figurehead. While the on-field results were less than ideal in 2016, there were a handful of strong on field performances.

For the 2016 Diamond Treasure though, I can't bring myself to look past the organizational shake up at the top. This year's award is being handed to two of the newest members of the organization. The 2016 Diamond Treasure is none other than Derek Falvey and Thad Levine.

Now, to be fair, the duo has very little claim in roots that run deep within the organization. However, the Twins have long been tied to internal resources and processes. In hiring Falvey and Levine, the organization has made a monumental shift that they no doubt hope will springboard them into the future. Falvey and Levine both have a tenure with the Twins that can be measured in a matter of days, but their baseball experience runs incredibly deep.

Beyond the prospects and on field talent, there's hard to find a bigger reason to be excited about the future than what the front office looks like. Between them, Falvey and Levine provide a culture of winning, and both have been integral pieces in constructing winners for other organizations. The Twins continue to look back at the early 2000's when AL Central titles were a forgone conclusion. If there's a reason to believe those feats are once again achievable, it's because of the new leadership.

Expecting the new Chief Baseball Officer and General Manager to make their presence felt immediately is a good bet. They both appear ready to dig in and entrench themselves among what is currently the Twins culture, and continue to make it their own. As the transformation gets underway, takes place, and continues into the future, it will be by their direction that things succeed.

At the granular on field level, Minnesota has plenty of reason for excitement in the not-so-distant future. From a top down view though, it's because of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine that the organization appears to be breathing with new life.