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.

The run on pitching continues. Twins take prep lefthander

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Vikings draft Updated: June 5, 2012 - 2:22 PM

The Twins have selected lefthander Andre Martinez from Archbishop McCarthy High in Southwest Ranches, Fla, He's the seventh pitcher selected by the Twins in this draft.

We're at the point in the draft where high school players might opt to go to college instead of signing with teams. Clubs used to have the flexibility to buy prospects out of their college commitments. With the new system in place, teams won't risk being fined for going over their draft budget. We'll see if that comes into play with Martinez, who has committed to Florida State.

Martinez was part of a loaded Archbishop McCarthy team that won three state championships. He did his part, going 36-6 in his prep career (including a win in the state title game this year), and the Florida State signee had some helium late. He's a 6-foot lefty with makeup, an above-average curveball, feel for a changeup and a fastball that is fairly true from his high arm slot but that was scraping the low 90s late in the season. Mostly, Martinez pitches in the mid-to-upper 80s. Scouts like his deception and downhill plane on the fastball, which hitters don't square up despite often pedestrian velocity.



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