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 select Buxton with second overall pick

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Vikings draft Updated: June 4, 2012 - 6:27 PM

Byron Buxton, an outfielder with loads of tools, has been selected by the Twins with the second overall pick of the first-year player draft. It's the highest pick the Twins have had since they selected Joe Mauer with the first overall pick in 2000.

Buxton is an elite athlete with freakish speed and an equally freakish arm. According to a recent Sports Illustrated story, he can throw a football 82 yards in the air, throw a fastball 99 miles an hour and has been timed at 3.89 seconds running to first, tying Bo Jackson for the fastest ever for right-handed hitting prospect.

He took the mound last Thursday in the championship game of the Georgia 2-A state championship series and struck out 18 batters over seven innings. Three of the four runs scored off of him came in the final inning. But his school, Appling County High, won the title.

He batted .513 with 17 doubles, 35 RBI and 38 stolen bases for Appling County. He hit just two homers, which has led to some concerns about his ability to hit for power.

There also have been concerns about the level of talent he's faced in high school. Ultimately, his skills were too good to pass up. The Twins' stated goal for this draft is to hit a home run with their pick, and Buxton is considered to have the most potential of any prospects in the draft. He's been compared to several multi-tooled players, from Eric Davis to Matt Kemp to a blend of the Upton brothers.

The Twins have two picks in the supplemental round, which is to come later tonight. Check back here later for updates.


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