After finally completing the Mookie Betts blockbuster with Boston last week, the Dodgers announced a separate, but corresponding trade with the Minnesota Twins.
The Dodgers have acquired RHP Brusdar Graterol, minor league OF Luke Raley and the 67th pick in the 2020 First Year Player draft from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for RHP Kenta Maeda, minor league C Jaír Camargo and cash considerations.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) February 11, 2020
In the initial three-team deal, RHP Brusdar Graterol was headed to Boston. However, after a review of his medicals, Boston backed out, hence the delay in making the trade official. In the revised version, a separate trade was made with the Dodgers ending up with Graterol, while also (re-)acquiring outfielder Luke Raley and a draft pick in exchange for Kenta Maeda.
Let’s get to know these new Dodgers.
Luke Raley was drafted by Los Angeles in the seventh round of the 2016 draft, but was traded two years later to Minnesota for Brian Dozier. Surely enough, they traded right back for him, which sheds light on how he’s viewed by the Dodgers as a prospect.
Raley has mashed at just about every minor league level. Most recently, at AAA last year, he posted a 122 wRC+ and seven home runs in 33 games. However, there are still major concerns with Raley, which made him rather expendable. He strikes out far too much, at 30% in 2019, and didn’t draw walks either, at a mere 5%. It is rather difficult to carry success into the big leagues at those clips.
— Jonathan Mayo (@JonathanMayo) October 20, 2019
Raley is also a subpar defender, only able to play corner outfield. He will most likely start the year in Oklahoma City as the Dodgers try to improve his strikeout and walk percentages. As for Raley’s role in 2020, if called up, he will serve as a bench bat against right-handed pitchers. While there is some intrigue in Raley’s raw power and exit velocity numbers, he will merely be a depth piece for the foreseeable future.
Now, moving on to the main get for the Dodgers in this deal, Brusdar Graterol.
Graterol was signed in 2014 by Minnesota as an international free agent out of Venezuela. After bouncing around the Twins’ lower level system a few years, he finally caught scouts attention in 2018 after an impressive season in high-A. In 2019, he continued his success at AA, and quickly rose as a top pitching prospect in all of baseball.
As mentioned above, Graterol was headed to Boston as part of the Mookie Betts blockbuster. Boston, after viewing his medicals, saw him as a reliever rather than a starter, and backed out of the deal. After reworking the deal, Graterol is now a Dodger. Before the failed trade with the Sox, Graterol was ranked as the 45th best prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline. However, after the news came out that Graterol was destined to be a reliever, he dropped all the way 83rd.
#Dodgers Dave Roberts on RHP Brusdar Graterol's shoulder issues that held up trade: "From what I hear, the medical is sort of benign and it's asymptomatic. … I see him in the 'pen. When you look at our starting pitching, it's deep."
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 13, 2020
While Graterol likely won’t ever start for the Dodgers, he has the tools to be an elite reliever. His sinker sits 100+, and has sharp vertical movement to go along with it.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 5, 2020
Graterol’s secondary pitch, the slider, is what the Dodgers’ player development staff will look to tweak. This pitch doesn’t quite get the raw spin nor the spin efficiency that you want on your breaking ball. Also of note, Graterol has a hard time mimicking the deliveries between this pitch and his sinker, meaning his pitches often get telegraphed.
-95% spin efficiency on both fastballs
-60% on slider pic.twitter.com/Xq5UZ21yEs
— Michael Augustine (@AugustineMLB) February 10, 2020
Graterol has a changeup as well, but doesn’t throw it at a high enough clip for it to effectively operate as a third pitch. His lack of this third pitch is another reason why Graterol will be used as a reliever and not a starter.
Graterol has as nasty of raw stuff as any prospect in baseball, but will need to develop more into a “pitcher” rather than a “thrower”. There’s no development staff I’d rather trust than the Dodgers to clean up Graterol’s mechanics and modernize his repertoire.
He will likely begin the season in Oklahoma City.
All in all, the Dodgers were able to bring in a very impressive package in exchange for Kenta Maeda. In addition to Raley and Graterol, they also acquired the 67th pick in this year’s amateur draft, which has been described as a particularly deep class. Both prospects the Dodgers acquired have some flaws, but the upside is there to contribute for many years to come.