Harper recorded the final out of Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Brewers to pick up his first save of the season. After Blake Parker worked the eighth inning and gave up a two-run homer to Keston Hiura to create a save situation, Taylor Rogers got the nod to begin the ninth but served up a home run of his own to Yasmani Grandal, and manager Rocco Baldelli decided Harper was his best option to close things out. The save was the first of the 30-year-old's career, but he's pitched well enough this season to potentially earn a spot in Minnesota's late-inning committee, posting a 1.61 ERA and 20:5 K:BB through 22.1 innings.
Harper threw a scoreless inning in Friday's win over Baltimore to lower his ERA to 2.45. Harper only averages 88.9 mph with his fastball, but his arsenal of off-speed pitches has been keeping hitters off balance. He's becoming a steady presence for the Twins in middle relief but would need to improve on his strikeout rate (6.5 K/9) to find more regular high-leverage opportunities.
Harper will be on the Twins' Opening Day roster, Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com reports. The Twins have yet to officially place him on the roster, but manager Rocco Baldelli confirmed he'd be on the team Monday. The 29-year-old posted a mediocre 3.60 ERA but an excellent 1.66 FIP across the two highest levels of the minors last season, striking out 32.7 percent of opposing hitters while walking just 3.8 percent.
Harper could win one of the final spots in the Minnesota bullpen after a strong spring, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. He's thrown ten scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts and no walks. Harper had a 3.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with an 86:10 K:BB across 65 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season. With Gabriel Moya (shoulder), Addison Reed (thumb) and Matt Magill (arm) possibly beginning the season on the IL, Harper, Mike Morin and Preston Guilmet could win a final spot or two in the bullpen.
Harper agreed to a minor-league deal with Minnesota on Friday, Brandon Warne of Zone Coverage reports. Harper spent the 2018 season in the Twins' organization, splitting time between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. He logged a cumulative 3.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with an 86:10 K:BB across 65 innings of relief, though his numbers took a decent-sized dip during his outings with Triple-A Rochester. Don't expect to see the 29-year-old up in the majors barring a rash of injuries.