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Article: Offseason Primer: Who Needs a First Baseman Anyw...

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2018 Vikings In Season Thread

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Article: Offseason Primer: The Core Seven (?)

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:47 AM
At the All Star break in 2017, I wrote up an article discussing the Twins Core Four. During the Twins recent poor seasons, there was a lo...
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Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #9 Brusdar Graterol

Ace. It’s the card the Twins have so desperately needed over the course of much of their history. There’s always a lot of debate over exactly who deserves that title, but most agree it’s probably fewer than 20 pitchers in all of baseball at any given time. Could Brusdar Graterol some day earn that title? Sure, but remember that some people also say there is also no such thing as a pitching prospect.
Age: 19 (DOB: 8/26/1998)
2017 Stats (Rookie): 40.0 IP, 2.70 ERA, 45 K, 13 BB, 0.96 WHIP
ETA: 2021
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.

What’s Next?
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.

ORDER NOW: 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (paperback, $15.99)

ORDER NOW: 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (eBook, $10.99)

The 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook goes in-depth and provides player bios, scouting reports, statistics and much more on almost 160 Twins minor leaguers.

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36 Comments

Despite being a pretty ardent follower of the Twins milb system, and intrigued by a ton of prospects from AAA down to last year's draft selections, 3 of the top 5 or so I have my eye on are Graterol, Thorpe and Romero. I see them being the same in many ways. Not the exact same pitcher. I mean, 2 are RH, Thorpe is LH, and both Graterol and Romero almost certainly have the highest ceiling. But Thorpe has some real talent, put up some really nice numbers early on and drew the watchful eye and commentary of several baseball people.

All 3 have some real potential and all 3 had major injuries that cost them a load of time; Romero and Thorpe each lost 2 seasons and Graterol a full season plus. Imagine how close/closer they might be if healthy. Can't wait to see what they do this season!
    • 071063, howieramone2 and MN_ExPat like this

Every once in awhile some young phenom shows up at the age of 20 or 21.Yes, Graterol needs to build his innings.But maybe next July (2019), Graterol will stroll out to the mound at Target Field and the rest will be history.Why can't it once be the Twins, eh?

    • birdwatcher, mikelink45, SF Twins Fan and 4 others like this
I loved the more aggressive upward motion that the new front office seemed showed us with Royce Lewis. I am hoping that this is a window on there development philosophy and is something that we see with the organizations best pitching prospects this season.
    • mikelink45, tarheeltwinsfan, howieramone2 and 1 other like this

The pitching prospects are looking good.Lets get the top arms to the bigs by 2019, starting with 1 or 2 this year.Much more exciting than the Darvish sweepstake for me. 

    • birdwatcher, Dantes929, tarheeltwinsfan and 2 others like this

If nothing else, with Brusdar Graterol and Akil Baddoo, the Twins have some of the best player names in the Minors!

    • birdwatcher, Dantes929, snepp and 4 others like this

Love the potential and upside of Baddoo and Graterol, what I don't like is they are a few years away from the majors and prospects like are 50/50 at best at making it and way less at being really good.

 

On a positive note - Sign Davish and in the two or three years it take Grateol and Thorpe to make "Big Time" along with Berrios we could have the best pitching staff in the Central and maybe the American league, and this will happen prior to Buxton and Sano becoming free agents.

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FormerMinnasotan
Feb 09 2018 07:47 AM
I feel cautiously optimistic on Graterol. His velocity on his fastball is outstanding, plus I have to think he will improve both his command/control, and his secondary pitches. Obviously since he had Tommy John health will be a concern but other than that the sky’s the limit for him. I look forward to see his progress this year.

 

I feel cautiously optimistic on Graterol. His velocity on his fastball is outstanding, plus I have to think he will improve both his command/control, and his secondary pitches. Obviously since he had Tommy John health will be a concern but other than that the sky’s the limit for him. I look forward to see his progress this year.

Does anyone know the recidivism rate on Tommy John? Isn't it stronger after the surgery? Sometimes I have thought we should just have our prospects get the surgery the day after they are drafted and be done with it.I do wonder if he should take a page out of Koufax and Verlander playbook and tone down the fastball a little bit in favor of command, at least in the minors.Starters that throw 100 don't seem to last that long. 

    • Dave The Dastardly likes this

Big fan of 100 mph

 

I do wonder if he should take a page out of Koufax and Verlander playbook and tone down the fastball a little bit in favor of command, at least in the minors.Starters that throw 100 don't seem to last that long. 

 

Funny you mention Verlander.Heard one comparison that really grabbed my attention, imagine Verlander stuff at 19.That's a bit lofty, but just shows some expectation levels.Right now, I'd compare him to Franklin Perez, who was dealt from the Astros to the Tigers last year.They're both young, very strong arms, w/good off speed, but not a lot of innings pitched as a starter.Perez has a better unibrow.

Ace. It’s the card the Twins have so desperately needed over the course of much of their history. There’s always a lot of debate over exactly who deserves that title, but most agree it’s probably fewer than 20 pitchers in all of baseball at any given time. Could Brusdar Graterol some day earn that title? Sure, but remember that some people also say there is also no such thing as a pitching prospect.Age: 19 (DOB: 8/26/1998)2017 Stats (Rookie): 40.0 IP, 2.70 ERA, 45 K, 13 BB, 0.96 WHIPETA: 20212017 Ranking: NANational Top 100 RankingsBA: NA | MLB: NA | ESPN: NA | BP: NAWhat’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.What’s Next?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: 16-20TD Top Prospects: 11-15TD Top Prospect: #10 Akil BaddooTD Top Prospects: #8 (Coming Soon)Get to know more about Graterol and much more in the 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook.ORDER NOW: 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (paperback, $15.99)ORDER NOW: 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (eBook, $10.99)The 2018 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook goes in-depth and provides player bios, scouting reports, statistics and much more on almost 160 Twins minor leaguers.Click here to view the article


Jose Berrios was drafted in 2012, the year he “threw 30 innings”. Presumably, he threw much more than that during his senior year of high school making the jump in IP much less than 30 - 100 like you suggest.
Photo
Tom Froemming
Feb 09 2018 09:43 AM

 

Jose Berrios was drafted in 2012, the year he “threw 30 innings”. Presumably, he threw much more than that during his senior year of high school making the jump in IP much less than 30 - 100 like you suggest.

Well Graterol threw plenty in EST before making his official stateside debut with the GCL Twins in late June, so I still think the same theory applies.

    • gunnarthor likes this

 

I loved the more aggressive upward motion that the new front office seemed showed us with Royce Lewis. I am hoping that this is a window on there development philosophy and is something that we see with the organizations best pitching prospects this season.

The Twins have been very aggressive since Steil took over in 2012. 

    • birdwatcher and BJames like this

We'll be having a pow-wow at the park later on today, where we'll be praying to the baseball gods to save Graterol's arm from future major surgeries...

 

All are welcome!

    • Tibs and HrbekRules like this
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Tom Froemming
Feb 09 2018 10:28 AM

 

I do wonder if he should take a page out of Koufax and Verlander playbook and tone down the fastball a little bit in favor of command, at least in the minors. Starters that throw 100 don't seem to last that long. 

I would endorse that adjustment. There's a bit more effort in his delivery right now than I'm comfortable with.

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Andrew Thares
Feb 09 2018 10:29 AM

 

If nothing else, with Brusdar Graterol and Akil Baddoo, the Twins have some of the best player names in the Minors!

Imagine if the Twins traded for the Indians catching prospect Sicnarf Loopstok. That would make a great battery. 

    • snepp, blindeke, tarheeltwinsfan and 1 other like this

 

I would endorse that adjustment. There's a bit more effort in his delivery right now than I'm comfortable with.

Yeah, I saw him a little on youtube and he seems to have a lot of recoil on the follow through.I think I have heard that it is not so much the forward motion but the stopping that puts the arm at risk. There did seem to be some sink on his pitches which explains the ground ball rate. Two seamer, 4 seamer, slider, curveball and changeup.Unhittable on paper.  

Exciting for sure.

young pitchers in the low minors like this are kind of like lottery tickets, aren't they? So many things need to happen with this kid before we really know anything. The 100 mph fastball and slider potential are tantalizing, and it's great to have a prospect like this...but I wouldn't rank him so high. Not for a pitcher at his age, experience level, and with his injury history.

 

The potential is sky high, but so is the bust factor.

    • gil4, howieramone2, Tomj14 and 1 other like this

 

Well Graterol threw plenty in EST before making his official stateside debut with the GCL Twins in late June, so I still think the same theory applies.

 

I can accept that.I was just pointing out that the jump was not as large as you implied. Your original suggestion, carried through to it's conclusion, is that in 2019 he'll be ready for a full 170ish innings you get in full season ball which I think is unlikely. 

 

Out of curiosity, do you know roughly how many innings a player throws in EST? Clearly it varies per player's readiness but a rough estimate?

Photo
tarheeltwinsfan
Feb 09 2018 12:12 PM

I am a Brusdar booster, a Brusdar booster, a Brusdar booster .

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Tom Froemming
Feb 09 2018 12:50 PM

 

Out of curiosity, do you know roughly how many innings a player throws in EST? Clearly it varies per player's readiness but a rough estimate?

That's a good question. I'm sure it varies some case-by-case. Maybe Seth will stop by and chime in with an answer for us.

Our individual rankings for Graterol:

 

Seth (7), Nick (9), Cody (8), TOM (SEVENTEEN)... 

 

Emphasis by me... Ha!

    • Tom Froemming and jrod23 like this

 

Out of curiosity, do you know roughly how many innings a player throws in EST? Clearly it varies per player's readiness but a rough estimate?

 

It does vary, but if they spent all of EST, they'd make one start a week, and build up to 5ish innings, so you're probably talking 40-50 tops... obviously less for relievers. 

    • Oxtung and Tom Froemming like this

 

Jose Berrios was drafted in 2012, the year he “threw 30 innings”. Presumably, he threw much more than that during his senior year of high school making the jump in IP much less than 30 - 100 like you suggest.

Old topic but if I am not mistaken there is little to no evidence that innings limits have any effect at all.Twins are considered to be one of the most cautious teams in terms of protecting prospect arms while also being historically and collectively considered softer throwers than average but does anyone think the Twins pitchers have had fewer injuries than average? Blyleven threw 141 innings at age 18, 210 at age 19 and 278 at age 20. It just seems bizarre to me that some one can throw 80 innings and the protocol is to shut them down, have them take 6 months off and now they can throw 100 innings.I think it makes sense to not let a guy throw 100 pitches right away in ST or not letting a guy throw too many pitches in one inning but a lot of the precautions seem to have no scientific or even anecdotal evidence supporting them.I do remember one article supporting what we saw Gibson doing last year which is exercise and stretch in between innings.That makes sense. Having someone with arm fatigue or soreness sit out a start or two makes sense. Shutting guys down for reaching innings limits just seems arbitrary to me and deprives them of developmental experience..

    • BJames likes this

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