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 go for mega power arm in second round

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: June 5, 2014 - 10:14 PM

With their second pick of the draft, the Twins continued their recent trend of drafting power arms and selected Louisville righthander Nick Burdi.

Burdi, the Cardinals' all-time saves leader, has a fastball that has reached 100 miles an hour several times and a slider as hard as 93 miles an hour. His fastball, in fact, has touched 103 this season. Wow.

Here's what Baseball America wrote up about Burdi

Burdi ranks as the hardest thrower in college baseball, making him a first-round candidate despite being limited to a relief role. Drafted in the 24th round by the Twins out of high school in 2011, Burdi has pitched out of Louisville’s bullpen for three years, becoming the Cardinals’ all-time saves leader. He does it with pure power. He’s athletic with tremendous arm strength and runs his fastball into the 96-100 mph range consistently, maintaining that velocity over two- and three-inning outings. He has reached up to 103, and his fastball earns 80 grades from most scouts on the 20-80 scale. Burdi’s slider gives him a second premium pitch, reaching as high as 92-93 mph and sitting 87-90 with depth. One area scout called it “hard, late and unfair.” Scouts don’t consider his delivery and mentality suited for starting. He has learned to repeat his delivery better and should have enough control to close, and he could reach the major leagues in short order.

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