The Twins' top pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol picked up a career first, earning his first professional save for Minnesota's Double-A affiliate Pensacola Tuesday night.
The young right-hander was throwing gas too, with his fastball touching 102 mph.
Since being activated from the injury list on Aug. 7 – where he was dealing with a shoulder issue – Graterol has made two appearances out of the bullpen.
Before his activation, Graterol made 44 minor league appearances with 39 of them being starts. In 206 career innings, Graterol has a 2.44 ERA with 222 strikeouts.
He was signed as an international free agent in 2014 and is currently the 57th-best prospect in all of baseball.
Although he's just 20 years old, he could be a welcomed addition to the Twins' bullpen to pair with Taylor Rogers, Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson.
Otherwise, arms like Trevor May, Zack Littell, Ryne Harper and Tyler Duffey, all of whom have been inconsistent, are going to be needed in high-leverage situations down the stretch, and possibly in the playoffs.
Currently, the Twins' bullpen ranks ninth in ERA (4.50) and seventh in strikeout percentage (23.9%).
So even though Graterol hasn't pitched above Triple-A, the Twins might as well call him up to give them another weapon in the bullpen, which is far and away the team's biggest weakness.
Earlier this month, assistant general manager Rob Antony told SKOR North (KSTP-AM) that he "wouldn't be surprised to see him up in Minnesota at some point, maybe this month."
Because of his stint on the injured list, it seems Graterol won't be used as a starting pitcher for the remainder of the 2019 season.
"His arm feels great. So we need to build him and give him a few more outings and hopefully that continues and I don't think we'd be afraid to run him up here and see if he can't be part of the equation in the bullpen." said Antony. "I think it's too late in the season to build him up to come up and start. It would take most of the rest of the season and I'm not sure even once you get into September that you're to that point where you would want to do that, but that doesn't mean he can't pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen that way."
Garterol is currently not on the Twins' 40-man roster so he'd have to be added to it before being called up, and currently there's just 39 players on said roster after Ryan Eades was designated for assignment.
Regardless, with the flame thrower moving to the bullpen, a roster spot open and the Twins needing pitching help, it seems inevitable that Graterol will be called up soon.
The bullpen move appears to be for this year only, as Graterol has ace-type stuff as a starter.