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3 pitching prospects who could help the Twins this summer

Brusdar Graterol is putting up big numbers in the minor leagues.

The Twins might not have to lean on the trade deadline to acquire more pitchers. Currently in the minor leagues, they have three pitching prospects who are throwing the ball very well.

It's still too early to promote them and fortunately, the Twins are off to such a great start this season that they haven't had to tap into their minor league system and rush a player to the big leagues.

As the year wears on, these three pitching prospects could make an impact on the Twins.

Brusdar Graterol

Graterol is the Twins' top pitching prospect. At 20-years-old, he's currently dominating Double-A Pensacola where in nine starts he owns an ERA of 1.89 in 47.2 innings, with 46 strikeouts and 19 walks. 

Opponents are hitting just .188 against him. It wouldn't be a shock if he's promoted to Triple-A Rochester sooner than later considering his dominance at Double-A.

Despite being so young, he's dominated every step of the minor leagues but he's also never pitched more than 102 innings in a season. So the Twins probably have an innings limit on him, but it's unknown what that number is. 

If he were to get called up to the Twins, moving Garterol to the bullpen might be way to maximize his arm during the playoff push without blowing away any innings limit he might have. 

His fastball reportedly touches triple digits and having a guy with that kind of stuff out of the pen could be a huge push late in the season and in the playoffs. Especially considering the Twins' bullpen is a bigger area of concern than their starting pitching.

Jorge Alcala

Alcala, 23, was acquired in the Ryan Pressly trade. You know, Ryan Pressly, the guy who is now one of the best relievers in baseball who the Twins gave to the best team in the American League last year.  

At least Alcala is delivering some solid numbers at Double-A Pensacola. 

In nine games (eight starts), Alcala has an ERA of 4.09 in 44 innings, with 53 strikeouts and 13 walks. Alcala has a four-pitch mix, with a fastball that hovers around 95-98 mph.

His career ERA is 3.30 in 341 innings and he's averaged a strikeout per inning during that time. He's also done a tremendous job of keeping the ball in the yard, as he's yielded just 21 career home runs.

MLB.com recently dubbed Alcala the Twins' closer of the future and given his electric stuff, that's a solid projection. Also, the Twins don't really have a true closer, but would they be willing to give those duties to a rookie? That remains to be seen.

Devin Smeltzer

Smeltzer, 23, was acquired in the Brian Dozier trade – who's a shell of himself for the Nationals – and recently earned a promotion to Triple-A Rochester.

Between Pensacola and Rochester, Smeltzer has allowed just 6 earned runs (1.09 ERA) in 49.2 innings. His control is impeccable (6 walks) and opponents are hitting just. 192 against him.

He's not a flamethrower with a 91-92 mph fastball, but it's his change up that's his best pitch, according to a 2017 scouting report when he was in the Dodgers organization.

Considering he's already in Rochester, he has a leg up on both Graterol and Alcala. Smeltzer is also a starting pitcher and pending an injury to someone in the starting rotation, he could be promoted sooner rather than later.

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