Minnesota Twins: Can Brusdar Graterol be the Twins’ secret weapon in October?
By Chris Schad
The top pitching prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization was returned to Double-A Pensacola, but could be heading north in the near future.
The Minnesota Twins are in the midst of a battle for American League Central supremacy this weekend, but the war will certainly extend throughout the remaining seven weeks of the regular season. With the Twins hanging on to a two-game lead in the division, they’ll need all hands on deck if they want to capture their first division title since 2010.
With the Twins only making a pair of moves to acquire Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson (who is now injured) at the trade deadline, they’ll have to look from within for a realistic chance of enhancing their roster. While there aren’t many options that can help immediately, one name that has popped up is top pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol.
The 20-year old’s season has been a bit of a roller coaster so far as he started the year with a 5-0 record and a 1.89 ERA at Double-A Pensacola. It was at that moment that Graterol injured his shoulder and was shut down for a couple of months in mid-May.
Since then, he’s looked impressive during a quick stint for the Gulf Coast League Twins, striking out four batters in three perfect innings before being returned to the Blue Wahoos on Wednesday. While some would assume that Graterol will look to refine things in the final month of the minor league season, assistant general manager Rob Antony told SKOR North in Minneapolis that a major league call up would not be out of the question.
Statistically, this would be a great idea for the Twins considering the damage that Graterol did in his short starts in the Gulf Coast League with a fastball that hit 101 MPH per Twins Daily’s Steve Buhr. That, combined with Anthony’s inference that Graterol could be a multi-inning option ala Andrew Miller, makes him more intriguing than any reliever the Twins could have acquired at the trade deadline.
The past history shows a couple of instances where this provided a huge boost to a team headed toward the World Series. Twins fans have some experience with this as a 20-year old Francisco Rodriguez mowed down the Twins during the 2002 ALCS with seven strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings to lead the Angels to the World Series after being called up late that summer.
The Tampa Bay Rays did the same thing with David Price during their run to the 2008 American League championship. As a 22-year old, Price would allow just two runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings and earned the save in Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS before transitioning to the starting rotation the following season.
It’s hard to tell how Graterol would handle the big stage, but those questions seemed to surround those successful situations as well. With the Twins knocking on the doorstep of a deep playoff run, it may be time to roll the dice and see what their top pitching prospect has to offer.