Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #9 Brusdar Graterol
Age: 19 (DOB: 8/26/1998)
2017 Stats (Rookie): 40.0 IP, 2.70 ERA, 45 K, 13 BB, 0.96 WHIP
2017 Ranking: NA
National Top 100 Rankings
BA: NA | MLB: NA | ESPN: NA | BP: NA
What’s To Like?
How about a 100 mph fastball? That do anything for you? Graterol’s also got an impressive slider and his curveball is already turning some into believers. With everything else he already has in his arsenal, it’s going to make it that much easier for his changeup to play. That combination of eye-popping velocity and secondary offerings has several outlets listing him as an “honorable mention” or a “just missed” in their top 100 prospect rankings.
Graterol struck out 28.7 percent of the hitters he faced last season, averaging 10.1 K/9, but he also gets a ton of ground balls. When batters managed to put a ball in play against him last year, it was on the ground 58.1 percent of the time.
Another big plus for Graterol is his physique. He may have lost a year of development on the field thanks to a torn UCL, but he made sure that didn’t mean it was completely a lost year. In a piece for Baseball America, Phil Miller reported that Graterol has added 60 pounds of muscle since the Twins signed him as a 16-year-old. Most online profiles still list Graterol at 180 pounds, but Baseball America has him down as 225 in their Prospect Handbook.
What’s Left To Work On?
Graterol needs innings. He needs to show that he can stay healthy and handle a starter’s workload over a full season. Tommy John surgery cost him all of 2016, but even his 2017 debut was delayed due to a broken hand.
Since he’s only pitched 51 innings in his professional career, we haven’t really seen enough from Graterol to know what else needs work. It’s a bit of a red flag that his walk rate increased from the GCL (1.9 BB/9) to Elizabethton (3.9 BB/9), but everything we can look at from a statistical angle has such a small sample size.
Other than the health concerns, it’s just all the usual stuff you’d expect to worry about with any young pitcher. Can he develop a useful third pitch? Will the changeup be good enough to keep lefties off balance? How is he going to handle facing more advanced hitters? Where is he going to find room for all the Cy Young Awards he’s going to win. You know, stuff like that.
Since he only threw 40 innings last season, it seems likely the Twins will want to limit Graterol’s innings to a certain extent. A pessimist would point out the fact that the Twins prospect who logged the most innings in his age 19 season last year (Fredderi Soto in the Dominican Summer League) only reached 53.2 frames. Teams are being a lot more careful with their pitchers these days, and that triple-digit heat may put extra stress on Graterol’s body.
The optimist, however, would say that Jose Berrios increased his innings from just 30.2 to 103.2 between his ages 18 and 19 seasons. Graterol will likely stay back in Fort Myers, starting the year working in extended spring training, but he should surface in Cedar Rapids at some point in 2018.
So what are we left with here? Well, Graterol is one of the highest ceiling/lowest floor prospects in all of baseball, let alone the Twins’ system. He definitely has true ace potential, already possessing two plus pitches. The questions that remain are 1) will he be able to command those pitches and, 2) can he stay healthy?
TD Top Prospects: 16-20
TD Top Prospects: 11-15
TD Top Prospect: #10 Akil Baddoo
TD Top Prospects: #8 (Coming Soon)
Get to know more about Graterol and much more in the 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook.
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