Although the Twins’ have enjoyed a rapid turnaround from 78 wins a season ago to 101 wins and a division title this year, that breakout has roots tracing back to 2009, writes Dan Hayes of The Athletic. A decade ago, the Twins landed a transformative class of international amateurs—Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jorge Polanco—that blossomed into franchise cornerstones and 2019 stars. At the time, the $4.65MM the team doled out to land the three 16-year-olds was uncharacteristic for the Twins franchise, which had largely been a non-factor in the international scene; the team had no academy in the Dominican Republic and had virtually no connections with the players’ pseudo-agents. That made it especially difficult to land Sano, a coveted prospect who commanded a $3.15MM bonus and captured the attention of nearly every MLB club. On the other hand, there was less competition for Kepler, a German-born prospect, and Polanco, a scrawny teenager who lacked the projectability of Sano. Of course, those signings have delivered immense value to a team that has ridden Polanco, Kepler, and Sano to the franchise’s first division title since 2010. According to Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR, those three have been the 2019 Twins’ first-, third-, and seventh-most valuable players, combining to contribute 12.8 wins of value to the team.