Brusdar Graterol was a huge part of the Dodgers World Series run in 2020. His cumulative postseason numbers might not show it because of the NLCS, but he mowed down hitters for Los Angeles in October.
Outside of the Championship Series, Graterol gave up just 3 hits through the other 3 series. But he also didn’t strike out any batters in the World Series, Division Series or the Wild Card round. And that’s what has the Dodgers worried.
As Dave Roberts explained, that lack of whiff potential on his pitches went into the decision to option him back to Triple-A. The Dodgers activated him off of the injured list yesterday but surprised everyone by sending him down immediately.
He’s going to be a huge part of what we’re going to do this year. We just feel right now where he’s at, it’s a finishing school. He’s healthy, the ball is coming out, but the slider is not as consistent as it needs to be to get MLB hitters out consistently. And the sinker is not as commanded as it needs to be.
Graterol is severely lacking the swing-and-miss stuff that will take him to the next level of his big league career. That was also true in 2020 when he was in the bottom 15 percent of the league in strikeout percentages. But the Dodgers know there is something more there that he has yet to unlock.
With an average fastball/sinker velocity of 99 mph, Graterol has all of the makings of a lights-out reliever. The Dodgers need to get him to work a little on his slider command and his general pitch mix, and that’s what he’ll do at Triple-A. Graterol will also get the chance to get regular reps with OKC.
He’ll be back soon.