The top pitching prospect for the Minnesota Twins returned to the mound on Monday night. Could it be an audition for a potential deadline deal?
The Minnesota Twins have been active in the trade market leading into tomorrow’s MLB trade deadline and with that, the names of several top prospects have been tossed around. While Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff has garnered plenty of attention, another name that could be thrown in a potential deadline deal is Brusdar Graterol.
Graterol is the Twins’ top pitching prospect and has begun to garner national attention, ranking 35th in Baseball America’s latest top 100 prospect rankings. In addition, the 20-year old was tearing it up at Double-A Chattanooga this season with a 5-0 record and a 1.85 ERA before going on the injured list due to a shoulder injury in May.
While it’s not a given that the Twins want to trade Graterol in a potential deal (and recent reports have suggested they don’t), an encouraging sign in the right-hander’s recovery went down on Monday night as he made a start for the Gulf Coast League Twins and threw a perfect inning while striking out two batters.
The line looks impressive, but the fashion in which Graterol did it was even more encouraging. According to Twins Daily’s Steve Buhr, Graterol hit 97.4 and 100 MPH on his final two pitches of his outing. He also mentioned that Graterol hit 101 MPH on another hitter earlier in his performance.
One start doesn’t make a complete comeback, but the form that Graterol showed was encouraging. This is especially true when considering the timing of his comeback. With his name swirling around in trade rumors, it’s possible the Twins may have been showcasing him for a team potentially interested in obtaining him in a package for a major league arm.
On the other hand, this might be an instance of the Twins wanting to get one of their top prospects their first work since mid-May. One would think if all goes really well, the Twins might possibly call Graterol up down the line and use him as a secret weapon in the bullpen come September and October in the same way that Tampa Bay used David Price during their 2008 run to the American League pennant.
The speculation will probably continue until tomorrow’s trade deadline, but until then, it’s a great sign to see one of the Twins’ top prospects back on the mound.