The Minnesota Twins made one of their most interesting hires to date on Tuesday. They hired Baseball America Editor in Chief John Manuel to join the scouting team. Manuel had a focus on prospects, and was the foremost author of BA’s annual Prospect Handbook. That is to say, Manuel has some chops when it comes to scouting.
Perhaps more than any other move in the nearly year long tenure of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, this move typifies a more progressive line of thinking. Manuel has an obviously strong scouting resume, though he doesn’t have a long history coming from within an organization. In fact, he started off as a writer rather than as a player or coach. Would he even be on the radar of the old regime?
This could be a new imagining of that whole “Moneyball” mentality, finding value where others aren’t even looking. The Twins follow teams like the Indians, Braves, Red Sox and Astros in hiring scouting experts, or analytics gurus to help make personnel opinions, rather than sticking with stultified old guard. There are some strategies and decisions that simply don’t require a career as a player to make. It seems intuitive, but the Twins are taking a step forward by trying to hire the best mind for a role that demands it. Only a few other teams have taken this approach, and hopefully Minnesota is on the ground floor of a movement that will pay them dividends.