Minnesota Twins phenom Brusdar Graterol makes his High-A debut

Ft. Myers, FL – Brusdar Graterol has only known domination as a 19-year-old professional. After posting 11.1 K/9 and 2.18 ERA in the Midwest League, the Minnesota Twins promoted their young phenom to Ft. Myers of the Florida State League. Make no mistake, Graterol is young. He was 3 years younger than the league average in the MWL and is 4 years younger than the average in the FSL.  The age and lack of experience (less than 100 professional IP) showed itself in his FSL debut.

While he may be young, Graterol has an adult body.  Listed at 6’1″, 180 lbs, I would say he looks closer to 200.  His legs and glutes are thick. He looks well put together with still more body projection to attain as he ages. His frame could easily support 225-230 lbs.

Graterol repeats his delivery well. He has good hip to shoulder separation and generates a high amount of torque. He loads the back leg as he starts his leg kick and his arm action is short and direct.  There is some head movement after release which isn’t really a concern at the moment because the head is still through the delivery. It appeared to me that he tends to cut his stride a little short and lacks optimal extension at release. But other than that, his delivery is clean and simple.

I saw a three pitch mix of FB, SL, and CH. The FB sat 98-99. There was occasional tunnel to it with 2 strikes but it was mostly straight. His SL sat 82-86. He struggled to use the SL to put hitters away, allowing 3 hits and generating zero swing and miss. His CH might be his most interesting pitch to me. Now this could have been due to overthrowing the SL and/or CH but the pitch appeared to have some cut to it at times. He used it in the first inning, his only scoreless IP, and then seemed to abandon it in favor of FB/SL combo.

Concerning the FB, Graterol threw 66% FBs, and for the most part was able to locate down in the zone. He continually went inside to RHH which is a good thing to see from a youngster.  Of the three HBP, all were on FBs to RHH. It was obvious that he was attempting to control the inner half of the zone with the heater. He rarely went inside to LHH and when he was hit hard on the FB, it was when he left it up and over the middle. The Lakeland hitters started to ambush his FB by the third inning and when Graterol went to the SL, the lack of spin sped up their bats. Of note, despite 3 HBP on 98+, the Lakeland hitters overall seemed comfortable in the box. I need another look to see the sequencing and comfort of hitters when the SL is on.

Despite the struggles, 9 hits allowed in 3 IP, Graterol was able to generate GB contact on 7 of the hits allowed. Furthermore, he recorded 6 of 9 outs on GBs including two double plays. There is a lot to like and his development will be exciting to follow. He will need to refine the command and spin of the secondary offerings to reach his full potential and remain in the rotation.

Featured image of Brusdar Graterol – via Bryan Green on Flickr
Video and tweets via Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame)

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