September has arrived and with it comes a bunch of minor leaguers who join the Twins for the final playoff push.
Among the minor leaguers to make the jump to the big leagues is 21-year-old pitcher Brusdar Graterol. He's Minnesota's top pitching prospect, and although he projects as a starter when he's a full-time MLB pitcher, he'll help the Twins as a hard-throwing right-hander out of the bullpen.
Graterol has been groomed the past few weeks as a reliever in the minors, where he allowed three runs (all on a homer) while striking out 11 batters in 10.1 innings. What's most exciting about Graterol is that he throws heat. He had a pitch clocked at 103.8 mph in a game with Double-A Penscola in August, and his fastball can pretty much live at 100 mph for innings.
If Graterol lives up to the hype, he'll be a big-time arm in the bullpen alongside the likes of Sergo Romo, Sam Dyson, Taylor Rogers, Trevor May and Tyler Duffey, all of whom have been pitching well of late.
The Twins also activated center fielder Byron Buxton from the injured list.
Buxton's been sidelined since Aug. 1 with a shoulder injury. He also had a setback in his rehab assignment last week when he felt some discomfort in said shoulder. In 82 games this season, Buxton is slashing .262/.314/.513 with 10 home runs, 30 doubles, 46 RBI and 14 stolen bases.
Dan Hayes of The Athletic notes that Buxton is available as a defensive replacement and a pinch runner but isn't able to hit yet.
Joining Graterol as September call-ups are:
- Ian Miller (OF)
- Willians Astudillo (IF/OF/C)
- Zack Littell (RHP)
- Devin Smeltzer (LHP)
- Kohl Stewart (RHP)
- LaMonte Wade Jr. (OF)
Meanwhile, the Twins have placed starting pitcher Kyle Gibson on the 10-day injured list with ulcerative colitis. His roster spot has been taken by left-handed pitcher Lewis Thorpe.
The Twins enter September with a 4.5-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central. Minnesota is 5 games behind the Yankees for the best record in the AL.