La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

International update: Twins get Diaz, Tapia

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 2, 2013 - 8:31 PM


The Twins went after a couple power bats on the first day of the international signing period on Tuesday, agreeing to terms with outfielder Lewin Diaz for a signing bonus of $1.4 million and third baseman Roni Tapia for $555,000.

Instead of reading my condensed version of the press release, here is the press release:

 LEWIN DIAZ OF, 6’4”, 210lb, L/L, 9/19/96, Santiago, Dominican Republic
In 2012 Diaz was selected to the Under Armour All-America game played at Wrigley field in Chicago IL. He a 2013 DPL All-Star and was selected to the 2013 DPL Elite Travel Team last March touring Florida during spring training. He trained with notable coach William Valdez in Santiago DR.
There is very little projection needed for Diaz as he is a seriously big, strong and physically mature 16-year old, with a thick power hitter core. Lewin has tremendous strength in his hands and shows off his plus-plus power in BP with every swing of the bat. His swing is fundamentally sound; he frequently stays inside the ball and can drive the ball opposite field with power. Lewin takes his swing to game situation and has good strike zone judgment as he rarely swings at pitches out of the zone.
He’s a below average runner with average to plus arm strength. Defensively he has limited range in the outfield due to speed but he is a smooth, confident and polished fielder who reads balls of the bat very well taking good routes to fly balls. He’s an average over-all athlete who will eventually end up at first base in a Ryan Howard type build.
....................................................................................................................................................................
 
Roni Tapia 3B, 6’3”, 170lb, R/R, 4-3-1997, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Roni is a native of Puerto Plata in the northern region of the island; he trained and developed his skills in Santo Domingo with trainer Raul Valera known as Banana. He’s an athletic 3B with a lot of room for physical projection and present plus power. Tapia was a DPL All-Star and was selected to the DPL Elite Travel team in 2013.
Tapia is a legitimate corner guy, he has present average arm strength with future projection to be plus. His hands and fielding ability will play average but his best tool is his right handed power bat. He can drive balls gap to gap with ability to turn on pitches with major pull power.

The Twins have not announced any signings. They like to wait for the player to pass a physical first. The international signing world, however, waits for no one.

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