StaTuesday: Flamethrower Graterol among youngest Twins pitchers ever

Brusdar Graterol is finally here.

A 21-year-old right-hander who routinely reaches triple digits on the gun, Graterol made his MLB debut Sunday with the Minnesota Twins nursing a five-run lead on the last-place Detroit Tigers.

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The young flamethrower was as-advertised in his debut, striking out Dawel Lugo on four fastballs: 99.6 mph, 99.3 mph, 99 mph and 98.5 mph.

He allowed a pair of singles, threw a wild pitch, then induced a game-ending double play.

Higher-leverage situations will surely come eventually, but Graterol’s debut was a monumental moment for the Twins.

Graterol, who debuted six days after his 21st birthday, is the youngest player to pitch for Minnesota since 19-year-old Rich Garces made his first appearance in 1990.

Player Year Age
Brusdar Graterol 2019 21 (6 days)
Francisco Liriano 2005 21 (314 days)
Adam Johnson 2001 22 (4 days)
Johan Santana 2000 21 (21 days)
Pat Mahomes 1992 21 (247 days)
Rich Garces 1990 19 (123 days)

Signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela back on Aug. 29, 2014, Graterol lost the 2016 season to Tommy John surgery, but has been moving through the Twins’ farm system at a rapid clip ever since.

He bounced back in rookie ball the following year, before starting 2018 with Single-A Cedar Rapids, where reports of his triple-digit fastball began to percolate.

He spent just eight games in Iowa before joining High-A Fort Myers to finish out the year, starting 2019 with Double-A Pensacola.

Graterol made it to Triple-A Rochester last month, moving to the bullpen after missing time with a shoulder injury. He gave up three runs on a homer Aug. 27 but has been otherwise sharp, logging four scoreless innings in five appearances.

His fastball, at any rate, is more than ready.

Graterol was clocked at 103.8 mph during his final appearances for Pensacola. That pitch would have been among the fastest recorded in MLB this season.

Only St. Louis’ Jordan Hicks, who had Tommy John surgery in June, has thrown harder this season, reaching 104 mph four times.

If all goes well this month, there’s little reason to believe he won’t be pitching in the playoffs.

Statistics via Statcast and