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 sign Dominican prospect

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: July 2, 2012 - 11:54 AM

According to Baseball America, the Twins have signed Dominican infield prospect Amaurys Minier to a contract that includes a $1.4 million signing bonus. The Star Tribune had the Twins linked to Minier for several weeks. So far, the bonus appears to be the second-biggest handed out today.

Minier, 16, is a switch hitter who currently plays shortstop but is expected to move to third base, The BA scouting report suggests that Minier will develop good power.

You know what? Why don't I just show you what BA wrote up about him,

A 16-year-old from San Cristobal, Minier trains with Jaime Ramos and plays in the Dominican Prospect League, where he has drawn attention for his bat speed and plus power from both sides of the plate. Minier's swing is more advanced from the left side and is one of the sweeter swings in the Dominican Republic. He has some noise in his set-up, but he has a smooth stroke with good balance and whips the bat head through the zone. With his power, he can put on a good show in batting practice. Scouts have reservations about his ability to hit in games, so his pitch recognition skills will have to improve.

Many players with Minier's body type—thick lower half and below-average speed—are already at third base. He figures to slide over there soon after signing. He has a strong arm but will have to work on his infield actions to avoid a move further down the defensive spectrum. Sources in the Dominican Republic think Minier has a chance to land one of the top three bonuses from the island among this year's July 2 group, with the Twins the team that pops up the most.

Here's some video of Minier in the batting cage.

Under the new rules, the Twins now have $1.5 million left to sign prospects.

UPDATE: Mike Radcliff, the Twins' director of player personnel, said there are a couple of Venezuelan prospects and two Australian prospects they would like to sign today. BA suspects that the Venezuelan prospects are catcher Rainis Silva and outfielder Antonio Tovar.

He gave Latin scout Fred Guerrero a lot of credit for getting the Minier deal done. "This is one we're kind of pumped about," Radcliff said. "There was heavy competition up until the end. There were other clubs in the house."



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