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.

Twins-Indians: Who cares? Let's look at the future

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: September 16, 2011 - 10:02 PM

I'm here at Titanic Field, er, I mean Target Field to see if the Twins can stop their free-fall to the bottom of baseball's standings. Putting `Who cares?' in the headline might be a little harsh. You never know what's going to happen when to arrive at the park each day, and this could be the day when a young player takes a step forward.

You never know.

But Baseball America has released it's list of its top 50 draft prospects for 2012, which should interest fans of the local  team. The Twins, if the season ended now, would have the second overall pick. They are a game ahead of Baltimore, 2.5 games ahead of Seattle and three games in front of the Padres. Houston pretty much has locked up the first overall pick - the Astros are 8.5 games worse than the Twins.

Who would the Twins have to choose from?

1. Mark Appel, rhp, Stanford: Has touched 99 miles an hour on the gun, is BA's choice as the first pick. He's being compared to Justin Verlander.

2. Deven Marrero, ss, Arizona State: Although the Twins selected Tar Heels shortstop Levi Michael in the first round this year, they should seriously consider drafting Marrero. You can never have too many good shortstop prospects. The Twins, of course, have had few.

3. Mike Zunino, catcher, Florida: This would be an interesting choice by the Twins. Adding Zunino would fuel speculation that the Twins are ready to move Joe Mauer to another position - or are considering a two-headed catching attack with one behind the plate and the other somewhere in the field or DH.

4. Lucas Giolito, rhp, California high school:  He apparently has a mid-90's fastball and very good curveball.

5. Byron Buxton, of, Georgia high school:. The Twins like toolsy prep outfielders. But with Joe Benson, Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, Jose  Angel Morales and Eddie Rosario sprinkled throughout the system, this should be a year the Twins will look to address other areas. 

6. Chris Beck, rhp, Georgia Southern: He touches 96 mph and has a hard breaking ball.

So, Twins fans, dare to dream.....

 Waiting on lineups, and will check back later with updates.

Cleveland (72-75)

1. Kosuke Fukudome, RF
2. Jason Kipnis, 2B
3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
4. Jim Thome, DH
5. Carlos Santana, 1B
6. Grady Sizemore, CF
7. Shelley Duncan, LF
8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
9. Lou Marson, C

Pitching: Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP

 Twins (59-89)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Trevor Plouffe, SS
3. Jason Kubel, DH
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
5. Chris Parmelee, 1B
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Luke Hughes, 2B
8. Joe Benson, LF
9. Drew Butera, C

Pitching: Kevin Slowey, RHP 


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