It was only a matter of time for Sean Johnson.
But, after years of grinding, the well-respected former Wichita State catcher was promoted to scouting director for the Minnesota Twins back in 2016, a position he’s held until another promotion to VP of Amateur Scouting.
He started out as an area scout with the-then Florida Marlins, and joined the Twins organization shortly thereafter as a Four Corners area scout, eventually earning a promotion to West Coast Supervisor.
“He’s always been an out-of-the-box thinker,” Deron Johnson (no relation), who had previously held the position, told the Star-Tribune at the time. “We have mostly old-school scouts, mostly older guys. He’s innovative. He always had good ideas. He’s brought ideas to the draft room during his time as West Coast supervisor, and we have used some of his ideas.”
Minnesota’s lucky those ideas have remained with them. Johnson had interviewed with several other clubs for scouting director roles — namely Arizona and San Diego — prior to moving up with the Twins, and has already made a quick impact on their farm system, taking a teamwork-type approach as a scouting staff to get the job done.
Fellow advisory board member Keith Law ranked Minnesota as a top-20 system in rankings for The Athletic — a spot that surely would have been higher had top players like Royce Lewis, who Johnson selected with the top overall pick in 2017, not been dealing with significant injuries — and, as a smaller market team, they’ve relied heavily on homegrown talent over recent years, a trend that will surely continue with many players added on Johnson’s watch being on the precipice of making a big-league impact.
Other outlets have more generous rankings, with Baseball America having Minnesota at no. 14 heading into the 2022 season.
Jeremy Booth, himself a former area scout for the Twins and now the president and CEO of the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series, has little doubt that Minnesota is once again on the rise under Johnson’s leadership.
“Sean has always been someone who’s as real with me as can be,” Booth said.
“My first day interviewing with the Twins he introduced himself and I made a dumb comment about the guy throwing on the mound, but he just reassured me and told me to relax. One of the biggest moments in my life to date and he’s just making sure I’m good. Over the last decade and a half he’s continued to do the same. We have always had a great relationship – the sense of humor is outstanding – and there’s no punches pulled at any point. Love the guy, I do. He’s continued his climb and earned every step, and there’s more to come if he chooses it.”
The Twins have drafted plenty of Future Stars Series alums in the past including current top-30 prospect Marco Raya as well as Drew Gilbert, Will Frisch and Adrian Colon. The latter three all elected to honor their college commitments, while Raya, who pitched for the National Team at International Week in 2019, has gotten off to a very strong professional debut this year.
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