Lost in the craziness of the massive Mookie Betts trade, the Dodgers also acquired RHP Brusdar Graterol from the Minnesota Twins last February in exchange for Kenta Maeda.
The 22-year-old quickly won over the hearts of Dodgers fans thanks to his smile and energy in the bullpen and on the mound. He appeared in 23 games for LA, including two brief starts. He posted a 3.09 ERA and 3.41 FIP, but posted an incredible WHIP of 0.90.
Graterol’s damage came against right-handed hitters in 2020. They hit only .164 off of him, compared to lefties who hit .360. Nearly 85 percent of his strikeouts came against righties too.
He was nicknamed the “Bazooka”, and for good reason. Graterol had electric stuff and was must-see television every time he took the mound. His sinker averaged 99.3 mph, with his fastball averaging 98.8 mph. Oh, don’t worry, he threw off-speed stuff too. His changeup only averaged 92.1 mph. Graterol has the stuff to make him an elite closer in the game. We’ve seen it at times, and he looks practically un-hittable out there. For him, he just needs to work on getting more swings and misses with his stuff.
His strikeout percentage was only 14.8 percentage and he averaged only 5.0 strikeouts per nine innings. If he’s going to take that next step and become a dominant reliever, he’s going to need to get those strikeout numbers up significantly.
After a shaky seven-game start to his Dodgers career, Graterol really settled down and gained confidence as the season went on. Over his final 16 games he posted an ERA of 2.16. However, as I mentioned earlier, the strikeouts were just non-existent. In 16 2⁄3 innings he struck out only seven.
During LA’s postseason run, Graterol was used nine times. With the exception of his three-run outing in Game 4 of the NLCS, he was great for the Dodgers. In his other eight appearances, Graterol threw 6 2⁄3 innings of scoreless ball. He allowed only three hits and struck out four.
Stats: 1-2, 3.09 ERA, 23 G, 13 SO, 0.90 WHIP, 3.41 FIP, 139 ERA+, 4.43 SO/BB
Game of the year
Graterol entered Game 7 of the NLCS with the Dodgers down a run. After issuing a walk, he struck out two Braves to send the game to the bottom of the sixth with LA trailing only one. We all know what happened that next half inning...
Graterol has one year and 29 days of service time with three options remaining. He’ll be a focal point in LA’s bullpen in 2021. Who knows, maybe he’ll even close some more games?