– As Nick Burdi talked about the difference between starting and relieving, he said something perhaps no Twins pitcher ever has said.

“It’s one of those things where you go out for one inning, try to blow up the radar gun,” he said, “and get three outs.”

A Twins pitcher blowing up a radar gun? What has baseball come to?

Burdi, one of the Twins’ top relief prospects, represents how the organization is finally embracing power pitching like the rest of baseball does. And he might be the first of a wave of fireballers that could land at Target Field starting this year.

The limits of the radar run reading at Hammond Stadium were tested when Burdi entered in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 13-2 spring training victory over Baltimore. The righthander’s first pitch hit 97 miles per hour on the scoreboard. He hit 99 four times during his 1-2-3 inning. He mixed in a wipeout slider that registered 84-86 mph on the gun.

Although he didn’t throw it, Burdi has been working on a split-fingered pitch that comes in around 87-88 mph — which is about the speed of Tommy Milone’s fastball.

“Just as important, he threw his fastball over the plate,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said.

Burdi, 23, was a starter in high school and his first year of college at Louisville. He was moved to a relief role his sophomore year and flourished.

“I really didn’t have a third pitch,” Burdi said, “and I kind of had more of that reliever mentality when I try to throw as hard as I could.”

How hard is that?

“I’ve been up to 103, but that was up in the Cape Cod League,” Burdi said. “I think it was one of those things where the gun was juiced up, but as a pitcher you’ll take it.”

Burdi began last season at Class AA Chattanooga but had a 5.93 ERA when he was demoted to Class A Fort Myers on June 30. After working on his mechanics, he returned to Chattanooga in August and gave up only two earned runs over 13 ⅓ innings.

Burdi isn’t the only flame-thrower the Twins are cultivating. Lefthander Mason Melotakis and righthander J.T. Chargois were second-round selections in 2012. Both throw at least 96 mph. Burdi (second round), Michael Cederoth (third) and Jake Reed (fifth) were taken in 2014. Reed has hit 98 on the gun. Cederoth is starter who tops around 95 but has thrown close to 100 mph as a college reliever. What encourages the Twins is that Burdi, Chargois and Reed all have good secondary pitches. And they start the season at either Chattanooga or Class AAA Rochester. Chargois pitched a scoreless eighth inning Sunday during the Twins’ 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay, and his fastball clocked from 94-97 mph.

The Twins have looked for power arms on the international market as well. One of the relievers on Saturday was Yorman Landa, whose first pitch was 97 mph.

“Power arms go quick in the draft,” said Mike Radcliff, the Twins vice president in charge of player personnel. “So if you want to do it, you have to get in play. Guys who touch 90 when they are 15 years old, those are guys that get millions. You have to realize that if you want to get in play.”

They also have righthanders Alex Meyer, J.R. Graham and Michael Tonkin — all with average fastballs of at least 94 mph — trying to establish themselves. But while they are doing that, Burdi is part of a wave of hard-throwers who could make an impact this season.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Burdi said. “There are lot of good arms with the Twins right now. For me, I’m just trying to get my work in. We have some of the best coaches in baseball here, and I’m trying to take in all they have to say and watch the older guys.”