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.

Twins take hard-throwing righthander in compensation round

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Vikings draft Updated: June 4, 2012 - 9:41 PM

The Twins have selected righthander Jose Berrios with their first of two compensation round picks.

Here's Baseball America's write-up on him: He's listed as Jose Orlando Berrios but he's to be called Jose. The Twins have one more pick in this round.

In the history of the draft, only two pitchers from Puerto Rico have been drafted in the top two rounds--Jorge Lopez, who went in the second round to the Brewers last year and Luis Atilano, a Braves supplemental first-round pick from 2003. This year, there may be two more on that list and Berrios will likely be the first off the board. Berrios worked with a conditioning coach this fall and spring and added 20-25 pounds to his frame since the summer and now has a muscular, athletic 6-foot-1, 180-pound physique. The added muscle has allowed him to smooth things out and has boosted his fastball velocity. His fastball now sits in the 93-95 mph range and some scouts have seen him touch 98. He throws his fastball down in the zone, mixes in a sharp, 80-81 mph slider and shows the makings of a solid changeup with fading action. Berrios is getting buzz as high as the back of the first round, and it's unlikely he'll wind up honoring his commitment to Miami Dade JC.

 

 

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