With less than a week remaining before the beginning of the 2020 season, teams will begin Summer Camp exhibition games against other opponents this weekend. The Dodgers open things up against the Diamondbacks on Sunday at 6:10 p.m. Pacific time.
Manager Dave Roberts will now try to get his players in form for the season. Decisions will also be made for certain roles on the team. Newly acquired Brusdar Graterol from Minnesota is a highly-touted prospect who could possibly see multiple roles with the team this year.
Graterol was originally supposed to head to Boston in the Mookie Betts trade, but after the original deal was restructured, he ended up in Los Angeles via a separate trade with the Twins
Graterol hails from Venezuela and stands at 6-feet-1. Still only 21 years old, the right-hander saw limited big league action last season. He only pitched 9.1 innings and recorded 10 strikeouts. He also had a WHIP of 1.241 and an ERA of 4.66
Graterol saw most of his action in Double-A last year, where he put up a 1.71 ERA in 52.2 innings, also recording 50 strikeouts. He walked 21 batters and had a WHIP 1.006.
Once moving up to Triple-A, he did struggle even more, posting up a 5.06 ERA in only 5.1 innings. For Graterol, however, he’s still really young, so the potential and ceiling are certainly there. He pitched in different roles, as he started 11 games last year all in the minor leagues and was also brought out the bullpen on numerous occasions.
He has an extremely strong throwing arm, and his pitching repertoire consists of five pitches including a sinker, slider, four-seam, curve ball, and a change-up. The Venezuelan’s fastball can reach up to triple digits as his fastest pitch was recorded at 101.9 mph. His changeup seems to be borderline unfair at time freezing batters. His sinker also can reach about 95-96 mph and has decent movement. His slider has a nice break that can also at times leave hitters mesmerized.
Before the original Spring Training was cut short back in March, Graterol pitched a total of three innings only allowing one hit while walking none and also striking out three.
Graterol underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2016 but later returned in 2017, posting a 2.70 ERA in ten games on the lower levels of the Minnesota farm. He was also named an All-Star in the minor leagues on multiple occasions—once in the Midwest League and another in the Southern League.
Nicknamed “Bazooka” for his strong throwing arm, some would argue Graterol has All-Star potential at the major league level. While his role with the Dodgers still has to be determined, it is likely he will be brought out of the bullpen this season. He could, however, help in numerous ways as a long man or by maybe starting a bullpen game in place of an injured starter. Others see Graterol as a future bridge to Kenley Jansen in the later innings or potentially even a closer due to his strong arm and lightning stuff.
Whatever the role, Graterol will surely be a fun, young arm to watch.