Brusdar Graterol knows how to catch your attention. Whether he’s throwing triple-digit speed pitches, goofing around in the clubhouse, or launching into a theatrical celebration after a big out, the right-handed reliever makes it impossible to look away.
At about 99 MPH, Graterol’s fastball is one of the fastest in the majors. His ground ball rate was one of the highest on the Dodgers’ staff this year. And while most of his appearances top out at one inning, he’s doesn’t flinch when called to go for two. When he’s healthy, he has the potential to be a lights-out pitcher, and it shows.
But staying healthy was a challenge for Graterol this year. He missed several weeks at a time twice this season due to right shoulder and elbow inflammation but, during his only rehab assignment of the year, showed that he was ready to go again by pitching 4 2⁄3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City in four appearances.
Back in the majors, Graterol proved himself to be a dependable late-inning option for the Dodgers. In June, he pitched 14 innings — the most of any month-long stretch this season — and gave up about one hit per inning of work.
Graterol particularly shone when the team moved towards a “closer by committee” approach late in the season after Craig Kimbrel’s struggles.
“Everybody in this group has that belief and that confidence that any one of us can close out a game,” Graterol told ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez in October.
Though his win-loss record stood at 2-4 by the end of the season, Graterol did his part as a sometime-closer by notching four saves over a career-high 49.2 innings pitched. He struck out 43 and allowed only 10 walks in that span, and while the Dodgers may not be looking for a permanent closer in 2023, it’s hardly surprising that Graterol’s name is often mentioned for the job.
Stats: 2-4, 3.26ERA, 2.95 FIP, 0.987 WHIP, 43 K, 49⅔ innings, 0.6 bWAR
Game of the year
On July 10, the Dodgers came back from their largest run deficit to that point to sweep the Chicago Cubs. Graterol recorded the save on two innings, his fourth multi-inning appearance of the season, with one strikeout and no hits.
Graterol has two years, 167 days of major league service time and qualifies for Super Two status, meaning that he’s eligible for salary arbitration one year early. MLB Trade Rumors estimates Graterol to make around $1.2 million in 2023.