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Shades of Brusdar: 3 Twins Pitching Prospects Who Can Help Ease the Loss of Brusdar Graterol


There are really three ways to view the recently-departed Brusdar Graterol. The optimistic view is that his electric stuff combined with his young age will propel him to the front of the rotation. The more pessimistic view is his lack of a third pitch and injury history relegate him to a bullpen role. And then there’s uncertainty. Today we’ll look at three Twins prospects who share some similarities with Graterol.Leaning towards the rotation

 

Although Minnesota had announced that Graterol would likely start 2020 in a relief role and the Los Angeles Dodgers are almost certain to do the same, it’s probably still too early to rule out a future starting role for the 21-year-old. Prior to his shoulder injury in 2019, Graterol was lights out as a starter in AA, and his four-seam fastball, sinker, and slider looked like a filthy mix in Minnesota. As a reliever, Graterol scrapped his changeup, which he will likely need to succeed as a starter, but his young age suggests he may have time to develop the pitch.

 

This brings us to our first Graterol comp: Jhoan Duran. The 6’5’’ 230lb righty is starting to appear on top-100 prospect lists and even passed his former teammate on Fangraphs' recent list, where Duran comes in at 63 and Graterol falls all the way to 113. Like Graterol, Duran can bring the heat, as FanGraphs has him sitting 96-99 and topping out at 102. Duran also features a good breaking ball and importantly his changeup and command rate higher than Graterol’s, which bodes well for his future outlook as a starter. Along with Jordan Balazovic, Duran looks like Minnesota’s best bet to become a middle-to-front end starter in the next few years.

 

Somewhere in-between

 

Another prospect who frequently invites Graterol comparisons, is 22-year-old Edwar Colina. Although shorter than Graterol, Colina has a similarly stocky build and has hit triple digits on the radar gun. Colina spent most of 2019 between High-A and Double-A as a starter and the results were very promising. His very good 2.34 ERA at Fort Meyers went all the way down to 2.03 in AA-Pensacola along with 10.74 K/9. This will sound familiar: Colina’s chances of remaining a starter are hinged on his ability to develop his changeup. His changeup is not well regarded and he finished 2019 in the bullpen, but he should get more opportunities to start in 2020.

 

Destined for the ‘pen

 

When the Twins acquired Jorge Alcala from the Houston Astros as part of the Ryan Pressley trade, there was some hope that Alcala could remain a starter. However, after struggling as a starter in AA during the first-half of 2019, Alcala transitioned to the bullpen. His fastball gained some velocity and sat 94-97 and combined nicely with his power slider. Control has been an issue for Alcala and his ability to improve in this area will likely be the difference between being a late-inning set-up guy or a middling reliever. Alcala pitched well in a small sample size after his promotion to AAA and earned a small cup of coffee with the Twins in September.

 

Who will we see in Minnesota?

 

All three of our Graterol comps have at least some chance of sniffing big-league action in 2020. Alcala already had a small sip of coffee with the Twins last September and is on the 40-man roster. Minnesota does have quite a bit of bullpen depth, but removing Graterol makes Alcala one step closer. Colina is not on the 40-man, so that’s an extra hurdle to jump, but he was on a similar path to Graterol and Alcala last season as he finished the year in Rochester’s bullpen. Had he pitched better in AAA, it’s not inconceivable that he could have switched places with Alcala. Duran has been added to the 40-man, but is likely the furthest away of the group. As a starter, his development could take a bit longer and the Twins have quite a bit of starting pitching depth. However, a Graterol-like late-season shift to the ‘pen is also a possibility.

 

Who do you expect to see in 2020 and in what role? What kind of long-term impact do you think the three young prospects will have for Minnesota? Please share your thoughts and leave your comments below!

 

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Good article! Honestly, I don't know what to expect. Being a longtime Twins fan I've become used to not having high expectations at all. But if either Duran or Balazovic turns into a high-end starter that would be nice. And if they both end up being rotation staples that would be extra great. All we can do is hope. Keep the faith ... and don't wear out those arms too quickly.

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Twins' "starting pitching depth" is for this year only. Odorizzi, Bailey, Hill and Chacín are all on one year contracts. No matter what happens to the team this year, there will be turnover next year. So, if any of these three guys has a good year, they will have a very good chance to be with the big club sometime in 2021.

Beyond that, we all know that every club deals with injuries and ineffectiveness. Last year, the Twins used 30 pitchers. It is not unreasonable that they will use in excess of 20 again this year, so all three guys might at least get a shot this season.

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I thought you would have more of a profile on Balazovic.  We have four good arms here.  If 50% of them shine I will be delighted.  I like to see good arms used early in their development rather that waiting until after TJ hits.  Look at what Atlanta did this year.

 

I agree that the Twins have four good prospects but I think the article was attempting to show prospects that are comparable to Graterol. Balazovic doesn't throw as hard but also has more than two good pitches which (I think) is why he did not get more coverage. In any event, he may be the best of the four. If they all improve this year, the 2021 rotation might be Bedrooms and these four young guys. That would be awesome.

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I think Fernando Romero has a great opportunity to fill Graterol’s role for 2020. Very similar profile. Alcala and Duran are on the 40 man so I expect them to contribute at some point this season. This team is starting to build the depth teams need to succeed over 162 games and still have pieces to trade for game changer at the deadline in July.

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What I find interesting is how many fans are operating under the assumption that Graderol was going to be the most dominate pitcher in all of baseball, or at least some seem to think that.  He was a prospect that can throw over 100, that is all.  He put up big numbers in low level of minors.  He did well in his short time in the majors last year, but that does not mean anything.  How many rookie pitchers put up good numbers then never make adjustments when the hitters do?  Sure, he may very well end up being a top pitcher, but he was not the second coming of Nolan Ryan. 

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What I find interesting is how many fans are operating under the assumption that Graderol was going to be the most dominate pitcher in all of baseball, or at least some seem to think that. He was a prospect that can throw over 100, that is all. He put up big numbers in low level of minors. He did well in his short time in the majors last year, but that does not mean anything. How many rookie pitchers put up good numbers then never make adjustments when the hitters do? Sure, he may very well end up being a top pitcher, but he was not the second coming of Nolan Ryan.

Can you link to a few of the posts claiming Graterol will be the most dominant pitcher in all of baseball?

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Can you link to a few of the posts claiming Graterol will be the most dominant pitcher in all of baseball?

I would have to do a dive back to the original posts when the trade was first announced a couple weeks ago.  My post was a little bit of hyperbole I admit, but the point was people are acting like we are missing out on a huge piece, when we really have no clue what we are missing out on. 

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I thought you would have more of a profile on Balazovic.  We have four good arms here.  If 50% of them shine I will be delighted.  I like to see good arms used early in their development rather that waiting until after TJ hits.  Look at what Atlanta did this year. 

 

I think Balazovic was left off because he was less of a comp to Graterol. There's been basically no discussion about Balazovic ending up in the bullpen, there's no injury concerns there to date, there's no real pitch mix concerns that could push him to the bullpen, and he's not an 100mph fastball guy. (like Colina and Duran). It's not about whether he's in the same class, talent-wise, just that the pitching profile doesn't line up as well as the other three.

 

Having Duran, Colina, and Alcala definitely makes it easier to trade Graterol. That depth is nice, and it's never bad to keep pitchers like that coming through the pipeline.

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I agree that the Twins have four good prospects but I think the article was attempting to show prospects that are comparable to Graterol. Balazovic doesn't throw as hard but also has more than two good pitches which (I think) is why he did not get more coverage. In any event, he may be the best of the four. If they all improve this year, the 2021 rotation might be Bedrooms and these four young guys. That would be awesome.

Yeah, thanks - that was exactly my thinking. I like Balazovic the best of the bunch  but was just going for guys who remind me of Graterol and mirror the same possible outcomes.

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Nice to see Colina and Alcala to get some recognition, but I’m still holding out hope for Romero to make the club out of ST. However, if we’re talking darkhorse candidates than how about Chalmers??

Chalmers fascinates me as well. If he can't harness his control I could definitely see him as another high-velo reliever. He certainly fits the same kind of profile as the others.

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I would have to do a dive back to the original posts when the trade was first announced a couple weeks ago. My post was a little bit of hyperbole I admit, but the point was people are acting like we are missing out on a huge piece, when we really have no clue what we are missing out on.

I believe that's called an opinion. And given his talent and prospect rankings, a completely fair one.

I know I'll miss having him.

 

Sharing opinions is the whole point of this site. It's not a clearinghouse to compile facts.

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