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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

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Tom Froemming
Feb 09 2018 04:15 PM

 

Our individual rankings for Graterol:

 

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

 

Emphasis by me... Ha!

I try not to rank relief pitchers inside my top 10 ... :)

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Bob Sacamento
Feb 09 2018 07:06 PM

 

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?

I'm probably the biggest Brusdar fan here, I got to know him quiet well during his rehab on and off the field down in Ft. Myers, great kid.He always kept me up to date with his progress, even when I didn't ask.When he first got clearance to throw off the mound after TJS, he was like a kid on Christmas.I'm rooting for him big time, high velo fastball that gets straight at times, a hard biting slider and a developing changeup.If he stays healthy, he's at least a late inning power arm.

 

As for EXST, from my count of outings last year he threw roughly 30 innings give or take a few innings much like Romero the year before.The two are very similar in stuff and personality.

 

BrusdarGraterolFacesmall
BrusdarGraterolFace (2)
BrusdarGraterol (3)
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Here are a few videos I shot of him over the last year or so

 

Side session 9/16/16 (first side session after TJS)

EXST game action 5/19/17

EXST game action 5/29/17

GCL game action 7/22/17

    • Carole Keller, ashburyjohn, Twins33 and 6 others like this
Thanks for the replies guys. Interesting stuff!
Looks like he finishes each pitch differently. He has a shorter stride and finish with his Fastball and just the opposite of that with his slider/off speed stuff. Not sure if that's something that can be picked up on quickly enough to make a difference (a la, Darvish in the 2017 WS). But to this HIGHLY untrained eye...I noticed a lack of consistency.
    • Dantes929 likes this

 

Looks like he finishes each pitch differently. He has a shorter stride and finish with his Fastball and just the opposite of that with his slider/off speed stuff. Not sure if that's something that can be picked up on quickly enough to make a difference (a la, Darvish in the 2017 WS). But to this HIGHLY untrained eye...I noticed a lack of consistency.

I agree. Some of his pitches were smooth and made me think this guy is 3 weeks from the majors but then I kind a saw what you saw which is mainly inconsistency.I don't know when the video was taken so hopefully he has progressed since then.

    • TNTwinsFan likes this
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Bob Sacamento
Feb 10 2018 01:09 PM

 

Looks like he finishes each pitch differently. He has a shorter stride and finish with his Fastball and just the opposite of that with his slider/off speed stuff. Not sure if that's something that can be picked up on quickly enough to make a difference (a la, Darvish in the 2017 WS). But to this HIGHLY untrained eye...I noticed a lack of consistency.

He throws like you would expect for a 19yo who missed throwing in competitive ball for two years (last start before TJS June 20, 2015, first start in org ball after TJS June 26th, 2017).Did he telegraph his pitches in the GCL and Appy last year? Yes which speaks to his stuff that hitters likely knew what was coming and still didn't tee him up.But that all can be cleaned up with repetition and more innings and experience under his belt.His short stride, much like Romero, and his max effort delivery much like Romero, is what leans me to believe both are destined for the bullpen in the future.

    • TNTwinsFan likes this

Brusdar Graterol, I hereby dub thee, "Da Bruiser."

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FormerMinnasotan
Feb 10 2018 10:30 PM

He throws like you would expect for a 19yo who missed throwing in competitive ball for two years (last start before TJS June 20, 2015, first start in org ball after TJS June 26th, 2017). Did he telegraph his pitches in the GCL and Appy last year? Yes which speaks to his stuff that hitters likely knew what was coming and still didn't tee him up. But that all can be cleaned up with repetition and more innings and experience under his belt. His short stride, much like Romero, and his max effort delivery much like Romero, is what leans me to believe both are destined for the bullpen in the future.

With the news that we missed on Darvish this sounds a little sad as well since more than likely the only way we’ll ever get an ace is to “home grow” one. Graterol and Romero have the velocity to look like that “ace”, but it feels a little hollow if all they do is end up in our bullpen. We need more “ace” like prospects, not ones who end up in the bullpen. However I will concede I have no idea what the future holds for Graterol or Romero, just hope of them can finally be that ace we have needed for years.

 

He throws like you would expect for a 19yo who missed throwing in competitive ball for two years (last start before TJS June 20, 2015, first start in org ball after TJS June 26th, 2017).Did he telegraph his pitches in the GCL and Appy last year? Yes which speaks to his stuff that hitters likely knew what was coming and still didn't tee him up.But that all can be cleaned up with repetition and more innings and experience under his belt.His short stride, much like Romero, and his max effort delivery much like Romero, is what leans me to believe both are destined for the bullpen in the future.

Some of his pitches did look really smooth and I would like him to get away from max effort if possible even it costs him a couple MPH which it seems he can spare but maybe it won't. I liken it to a golf swing. Max effort might get you the farthest distances but on average it produce much worse shots. Effortless 250 yards is way better than occasional 280.100mph is fun but really shouldn't be his focus.Feels like it is just wasted in the lower levels anyway. He seems to have a bit of a Trevor May build, but more so.

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AlwaysinModeration
Feb 14 2018 04:41 AM
Maybe I missed this, but how did the Twins acquire Graterol?
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Bob Sacamento
Feb 14 2018 11:36 AM

 

Maybe I missed this, but how did the Twins acquire Graterol?

The Twins signed him in 2014 as a International Free Agent out of Venezuela for 150K


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