Jhoan Duran is his name and he could very well be one of the top starting pitchers for the Minnesota Twins in the not-so-distant future.
Durant, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, struck out 8 of the 13 batters he faced while pitching for the St. Paul Saints – the Twins' Triple-A affiliate – on Thursday night, and he struck out two batters with 100 mph fastballs.
As Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic pointed out in a column written Thursday, Duran has been clocked as high as 103 mph in St. Paul this season, though everyone agrees that the radar guns at CHS Field are running a bit hot. Per Gleeman, Duran could be an arm starting or relieving for the Twins after the All-Star break.
"Duran profiles as a front-line starter if his off-speed pitches develop fully, so the 23-year-old right-hander could be a rotation option for the Twins in the second half. He may also tempt them as a late-season bullpen option, much like Brusdar Graterol did in 2019."
As for the inflated radar gun in St. Paul the Saints were in Iowa on Thursday night and Duran still checked in at 101 mph.
After the 2019 season, Twins Daily profiled Duran's best traits and they all fall in line with being a hard-throwing, dominating starting pitcher.
"He has all the traits teams are looking for when it comes to starting pitchers at the big league level. His four-seam fastball is consistently in the mid-to-upper 90s and he can crank it into triple-digits. To get strikeouts, he uses a 90+ mph two-seamer that acts more like a sinker/splitter. His curveball continues to improve and his change-up continues to get more work."
So where could Duran fit into Minnesota's starting rotation? Kenta Maeda, Michael Pineda and Jose Berrios should only pitch better than they have through the first thrid of the season, but there are still holes in the rotation with Michael Shoemaker and J.A. Happ falling off a cliff over his past few starts.
If anyone in the starting rotation continues to struggle, it could open the door for Duran to make his MLB debut.