Twins’ Derek Falvey lives or dies by Royce Lewis pick

Jul 2, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view at Target Field between the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 2, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view at Target Field between the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Twins drafted shortstop Royce Lewis with the no. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. It’s a bold move that president of baseball operations Derek Falvey will live or die by. 

When Derek Falvey was hired by the Minnesota Twins as president of baseball operations, the move represented a new era in Twins baseball. Eight months later, Falvey has made arguably the biggest decision he’ll ever make in selecting SS Royce Lewis with the no. 1 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. A pick that could ultimately define the Falvey era of Twins baseball.

While the high schooler Lewis was always a consideration with the first overall pick, Falvey’s first selection as head of baseball operations was a surprise. Many were under the impression that the team would select either Hunter Greene, Brendan McKay, or Kyle Wright. In fact, according to McKay, Minnesota wanted him, but were unwilling to pay the price and settled for Lewis. Here’s the quote from McKay as tweeted by’s Rhett Bollinger:

McKay’s comment suggests that money was a bigger factor than the Twins’ draft board. Yet, that’s not too shocking considering Falvey told the Pioneer Press that money could influence the way they draft, stating:

"“You want as many upside assets as you can get in your organization,” he said. “There are different ways to do that, and in some cases you find ways to save money at different picks to potentially add more impact players to your draft. We’ll certainly talk about that strategy, but I’m not yet ready to say it’s something we’d do in the first round.“It’s something we’ll certainly think about during the course of that process. I wouldn’t rule that out.”"

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  • While that may not please many Twins fans, this year’s draft class didn’t boast a clear-cut number one player. Therefore, Lewis shouldn’t be considered much of a drop off, if at all, compared to the likes of Greene, McKay or Wright.

    The Twins also gain further flexibility to sign their other draft picks, as they only have close to 14.2 million to spend for picks in the first ten rounds. Essentially, they can sign more prospects to add to their minor league system by spending less on Lewis, hoping that quantity results in some quality.

    That being said, Falvey is going to live or die by the results of this pick.

    In fact, if the results are poor, the selection could cost him his job, as the Twins can’t afford to miss on a first overall pick. Furthermore, if McKay turns out to be a superstar and far better player than Lewis, the Twins’ decision of saving money for other picks looks silly and costs them future success. Essentially, there’s no reason to think Falvey doesn’t suffer consequences in this scenario, whether fair or not.

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    But, if Lewis turns out to be the next great player in team history, Falvey likely leads the Twins organization for the long haul and has a piece to build around for the foreseeable future. In addition, Falvey’s decision to save money for other picks looks better as it likely adds more depth to their farm system, hopefully ending up in professional ball players.

    Regardless, Falvey is going to be in charge for the next couple of years, as Lewis develops in the minors. While there’s no reason to believe that Lewis isn’t worthy of the first overall selection, the spotlight is going to be on the young player to prove that Falvey’s first draft selection was the right move for the long term future of the Twins. If not, Falvey could experience a brief stay in the state of Minnesota.

    Let’s hope that Falvey indeed represents a new era and that Lewis becomes a cornerstone for Minnesota.

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