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  • Ranking the Twins Top-5 Fastball Prospects


    Cody Christie

    Last winter, the Twins traded away Brusdar Graterol, who had one of the best fastballs to ever come through the organization. These players are looking to take over as the team’s top flame thrower.

    Image courtesy of Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Jhoan Duran)

    5. Cole Sands, RHP

    Current/Future Fastball: 50/55

    Sands gets a lot of life in the upper half of the strike zone. Typically, he is in the low-90s, but he has the ability to hit 95-96 mph. According to FanGraphs, “his fastball will creep into the mid-90s with big time tail, the kind that can run off the hip of left-handed hitters and back over the plate.” His control has improved during his professional career and there is still room for him to make improvements moving forward.

     

    4. Jordan Balazovic, RHP

    Current/Future Fastball: 55/55

    Outside of Jhoan Duran (see below), Balazovic is the other pitcher in contention for being the team’s top pitching prospect. His fastball doesn’t have quite the velocity as others on this list, but he typically sits in the low- to mid-90s while topping out at 96 mph. His fastball plays up because hitters have a tough time picking it up out of his hand. He uses it a lot at the top of the zone and that means that the strikeouts will continue to pile up.

     

    3. Josh Winder, RHP

    Current/Future Fastball: 60/60

    During last year’s shutdown, Winder might have earned the award for most improved pitcher in the Twins organization. During the 2019 season, his fastball sat in the low-90s, but he can now hit 98 mph consistently and he proved this during instructs. There is good movement on the pitch too, which helps his off-speed pitches to play up. During the 2021 season, he needs to prove his 2020 development is for real. If he does, fans better be prepared for how fast Winder will fly up prospect lists next off-season.

     

    2. Edwar Colina, RHP

    Current/Future Fastball: 65/65

    Colina might not be as well known as some of the other names on this list, because he is destined for a role in the bullpen. His fastball consistently sits in the mid- to upper-90s and he can touch 100 mph. Even with this big velocity, his fastball doesn’t have a ton of movement, so hitters have a better chance of putting it in play. There’s a good chance he is part of the Twins bullpen at some point in 2021 and he can fill a late inning role in the years to come.

     

    1. Jhoan Duran, RHP

    Current/Future Fastball: 70/70

    Minnesota acquired Duran as part of the Eduardo Escobar trade and now he is considered one of the team’s best pitching prospects. He has grown into his frame throughout his time in the Twins organization as he now sits at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. His fastball consistently hits in the high 90’s and he can hit triple digits on a regular basis. His four-seam fastball might not even be his best fastball as he has a hybrid “splinker” pitch that can also reach into the mid-90s. His velocity is elite, and the Twins hope he can mix-in more strikeouts as he gets closer to the big leagues this season.

     

    How would you rank these players? Does someone else make the list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

     

    OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

    -Speed Tool Prospects

    -Hit Tool Prospects

     

    -Power Tool Prospects

     

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    Love hearing the pop in a small/not to capacity minor league stadium when you watch these guys throw in person.

     

    I really hope Colina gets a good bounce back appearance or three this year.  I'm in no rush to see Duran or Balazovic in MSP this season unless we have a long-term injury for a guy in the rotation and the likes of Thorpe, Dobnak, Shoemaker, Smeltzer, Sammons, or Barnes can't handle it.

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    What is going on with Brusdar Graterol? I read that he has not thrown at all during ST. Does anyone have any info on this pitcher?

    Only that he recently got married. They still eye him as their near future closer.

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    Love hearing the pop in a small/not to capacity minor league stadium when you watch these guys throw in person.

    We used to go to Metropolitan stadium when the Angels were in town just to get behind home plate when Nolan Ryan was pumping fastballs. The sound of the ball hitting the catcher's mitt was like no other pitcher. The ball would go "zip", "pop", and dust would fly out of the catcher's mitt. Awesome.

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