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  • Twins Daily 2020 Top Prospects: #4 Brusdar Graterol


    Tom Froemming

    Brusdar Graterol is a Dodger, of course, but we passed the point of no return in terms of adjusting our list. Instead of our usual breakdown of what’s to like, what’s left to work on and what’s next, I thought it would be more interesting to have a conversation about ranking prospects in general.

    Image courtesy of (graphics by Brock Beauchamp)

    Position: RHP

    Age: 21 (DOB 8/26/1998)

    2019 Stats (AA/MLB/AAA/A-): 70.2 IP, 2.29 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 25.7 K%, 9.1 BB%

    ETA: Debuted in 2019

    2019 Ranking: 3

     

    National Top 100 Rankings

    BA: 60 | MLB: 83 | ATH: 49 | BP: 32

     

    I was very slow to come around on Graterol as a top prospect. Two years ago, I had him 17th on my list, eight spots lower than anyone else at Twins Daily. Seth called that out in the comments, I responded by saying “I try not to rank relief pitchers inside my top 10.”

     

    So here’s where I take my victory lap, right? Nope.

     

    Brusdar Graterol can be a starter. Well, as long as the organization who controls him has enough patience to see that path through. The triple-digit fastball obviously is the headliner, but Graterol’s slider is also a true plus pitch and his changeup shows enough potential.

     

    One of the things I find most amusing about prospect rankings is what I like to call the Proximity Penalty. Generally, the closer a guy is to the big leagues, the more pessimistic his overall outlook becomes. It’s easier to dream on an 18-year-old in rookie ball than a guy who’s moved up a bit and has been exposed to advanced hitters.

     

    Graterol is only 21-years-old, eight months younger than Matt Canterino, the Twins’ top pitching selection in last year’s draft. He’s also younger than Dustin May, the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect, Jhoan Duran and he’s about the same age as Jordan Balazovic.

     

    Painting Brusdar into a corner seems extremely shortsighted at this point. He has time to develop pitches, adjust his mechanics and stretch out his arm. He just needs to be afforded that time.

     

    Prior to being shut down in late May, Graterol pitched to a 1.89 ERA and held opponents to a .188/.282/.279 (.561 OPS) batting line in 47 2/3 innings as a 20-year-old starting pitcher in Double A. That’s not a failed starter. Well, at least in terms of performance.

     

    The gorilla in the room is, of course, his health. Graterol has a lengthy injury history, but it seems strange to me a guy as young as him could be written off as not being able to shoulder (literally) a starter’s workload.

     

    We’re not sure exactly what Boston saw on the medicals that scared them off, but I’m confident of this: If Graterol had a significant injury, the Twins would have completely shut him down last season. I find it hard to believe they’d risk further injury by having him pitch a bunch of low-leverage innings out of the bullpen at the end of the year. There’s also the fact that he was sitting triple-digits at Yankee Stadium in early October. Seemed fine to me.

     

    Graterol was going to be in the bullpen for the Twins, and I’d assume that’s also where he’ll be with the Dodgers. But what if Los Angeles flips him to a non-contender willing take the time to develop him as a starter? Does he magically become a better prospect?

     

    I don’t know, maybe I was right back in 2018. In my writeup, I went out of my way to point out that a lot of people believe in the mantra “there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect” and called Graterol one of the highest ceiling/lowest floor prospects in all of baseball.

     

    I also said he definitely has true ace potential, and still believe that (pending medicals).

     

    Twins Daily 2020 Top 20 Prospects

    Honorable Mentions

    20. Jose Miranda, 3B/2B

    19. Cole Sands, RHP

    18. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/LF

    17. Misael Urbina, OF

    16. Edwar Colina, RP

    15. Matt Canterino, RHP

    14. Matt Wallner, OF

    13. Wander Javier, SS

    12. Gilberto Celestino, OF

    11. Lewis Thorpe, LHP

    10. Blayne Enlow, RHP

    9. Brent Rooker, OF

    8. Keoni Cavaco, SS

    7. Ryan Jeffers, C

    6. Jhoan Duran, RHP

    5. Jordan Balazovic, RHP

    4. Brusdar Graterol, RHP

    Check back Monday for #3!

     

    Graterol may be gone, but you can learn more about 170 Twins minor leaguers in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook.

     

    ORDER NOW: 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (paperback, $14.99)

     

    ORDER NOW: 2019 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook (eBook, $9.99)

     

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    I think the trade is a referendum on Graterol's change up.

     

    I believe the FO was not confident in the long term development of the third pitch and hense his ability to start.

     

    If they believe the in his ability to develop the third pitch, no way is he traded

    Or perhaps they anticipated that, even if he could develop into a starter, it would simply take too long for what our window currently is. Say Graterol builds innings as a starter / primary pitcher at AAA, but can't crack the rotation until sometime 2021. Instead, the Twins can pencil in a #3 starter for an absolute bargain and have him under contract for 4 years. The move gives the Twins more certainty for the rotation in 2020-21, while sacrificing upside for the future.

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    there was a medical reason at 21 you move a guy to the bullpen and a second teams doesn't like his medical.  ikely some serious scare tissue, I think the twins thought he was a tickin time bomb and there was only so many bullets trying to get the most out of him before major injury sinks in were he either cant pitch again or isn't effective.  a guy with that kind of stuff and a developing change at 21 doesn't get moved to the pen otherwise.  With the kid the best, would have loved to hang onto him but I believe there was more going on medically and the twins thought Maeda was the better gamble. 

     

    would have like to see a write up on #21 on the list to fill in here for my own selfish enjoyment.

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    Or perhaps they anticipated that, even if he could develop into a starter, it would simply take too long for what our window currently is. Say Graterol builds innings as a starter / primary pitcher at AAA, but can't crack the rotation until sometime 2021. Instead, the Twins can pencil in a #3 starter for an absolute bargain and have him under contract for 4 years. The move gives the Twins more certainty for the rotation in 2020-21, while sacrificing upside for the future.

    Or perhaps they felt Maeda was a better fit this year .....if they are going to try to make a run at the World Series.

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    I actually see him as number 1.  For all the medical buzz - none of which we know - the Twins were willing to bring him up at age of 20.  They might not see him as a starter at this age - most young pitchers are still being stretched out at that age - just read Balazovic and Duran's essays.  

     

    The Dodgers are a smart team.  They would not give up a four year - team friendly contract for a starting pitcher if they were scared like Boston.  Boston was not scared by the medical, they were scared of their fans reaction to the overall trade.  

     

    Graterol was worth a lot in this trade and in the opinion of two very good teams.  I expect that he will start in the BP, get some spot starts and grow into a pitcher we will regret not having.  

     

    I hope Balazovic gets the same quick call up and replaces Graterol in our hopes for the future.

    But I see to many comments that reduce the value of those we lose just as we have too many that increase the value of what we get.  Time will tell, but right now Graterol has great potential and is already showing it in MLB and Maeda fills a role we need and we hope to see him provide the quality we expect. 

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    Always thought Graterol was a good fireballer that had some good stuff but not until I saw him pitched against the Yankees that I saw greatness (which I don`t throw out very often). This young 21 yr. old poised against the NY monsters, I figured we had something special that we should hold on to. A true impact pitcher that could come in under any circumstances & get the job done. Twins lost patience w/ him, for goodness sake, he`s only 21 not 32. He should have been given every chance to start in his time not to fill in at BP in the beginning of this season, we have a few desperate pitchers that would love to fill in that role. Work w/ him sometime during the season he`d be ready to start if not he could put in some innings at the end of the season in BP. 

      I still can`t understand why they traded him & not a positional player. If LA was so determined to trade Maeda for Graterol & not a positional prospect, FO should have walked away. We could have done better else where w/o trading Graterol.

     I saw greatness in David Ortiz when he was w/ the Twins, it hurt me tremendously when they let go. Likewise I was hurt when they traded Graterol. I`ll miss the great moments & career he should have had in MN

    PS- "impact" is a word that`s thrown around a lot lately incorrectly " valuable that fits a certain need" is more acurate

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    I just want to express my gratitude to Twins Daily and all your fine writers. The content is first rate and really helps to get me through the long Minnesota winters. Looking forward to a special season, whether or not we go deep into the playoffs.

    Thank you for the kind words, we appreciate it.

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    I remember being ridiculed a few years ago for suggesting that Graterol was destined for the pen. I still think there's no way he actually becomes a starter, too much effort and too many injuries. I like Graterol as a reliever, could become a Kelvin Herrera type of guy, but I'm also glad we flipped him now for an actual starter because the flame out potential is high

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    I remember being ridiculed a few years ago for suggesting that Graterol was destined for the pen. I still think there's no way he actually becomes a starter, too much effort and too many injuries. I like Graterol as a reliever, could become a Kelvin Herrera type of guy, but I'm also glad we flipped him now for an actual starter because the flame out potential is high

    I agree there have been big red flags for some time with Graterol in terms of his being a major-league starter. And also agree that pointing those out wasn't a way to become popular here. His TD prospect rankings these last two seasons are indications that the writers on this site mostly chose to ignore those flags.

     

    Still, I don't know that he NEVER becomes a starter. Never's a long time. But, it's clear to me based on the deal they made, that the Twins think it's unlikely to work for the foreseeable future.

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