Brusdar Graterol is one of the Twins’ top pitching prospects. The 20-year-old righthander has been slowed this season because of shoulder inflammation but returned Monday, two days before the trade deadline, and hit 101 miles per hour on the radar gun in a game with the Gulf Coast League rookie team.
He’s a starting pitcher, with a solid slider to go with that fastball and developing changeup. If you’re skeptical of these measurements, you might be able to see for yourself later this month or in September. According to two Twins sources, there is a scenario in which Graterol — the 58th best prospect in the game, according to MLB.com — could pitch at Target Field before the end of the season. He would likely work out of the bullpen, providing a flamethrower in the late innings.
With The Deadline having passed — and that’s The Deadline, as in one deadline now in baseball — that leaves teams with few options to add players from here on out. That includes:
• Adding players through waiver claims, as some clubs will look to dump large contracts or players they no longer want to carry on their roster.
• Trading for minor leaguers. Players who are on minor league deals who have not played in the majors this season can be dealt. Lefthander Fernando Abad, who pitched for the Twins in 2016, has been mentioned as a player for whom a team could trade.
• Signing international professionals or players from independent leagues. For instance, the Twins on Thursday signed outfielder Ramon Flores, who has played in 119 major league games, to a minor league deal. Flores was playing for Somerset in the independent Atlantic League and now will help Class AAA Rochester. There are former major leaguers in independent leagues who could be considered if a team is facing depth problems.
• Teams can give top prospects like Graterol a chance to contribute to the cause. Graterol, a Venezuelan, is 17-6 with a 2.47 ERA in 44 minor league games and has 219 strikeouts in 203 ⅔ innings in his minor league career.
Some executive are rumbling about pushing the deadline back to Aug. 15 to give teams more time to decide to buy or sell. It seems as if this year’s deadline drama went from zero to 60 — as in more than 60 players were moved during the final day of the deadline. That’s not a bad thing, is it?
With no second deadline, teams will have to get creative if they have to fill in holes. The Twins are monitoring Graterol, who hit also 101 during two scoreless innings Thursday in his second outing since recovering from injury. A lot of things will have to break right for him to be called up, but he could get on their radar if he continues to do well as he builds his endurance back up.
In a new era in which teams are dealing with The Deadline, all options have to be considered.
La Velle E. Neal III covers the Twins for the Star Tribune. Twitter: @LaVelleNeal