The reason it took so long for the Los Angeles Dodgers to officially acquire Mookie Betts during the offseason was because the Boston Red Sox had a problem with pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol’s medical records.
While that put the deal on hold for a while, the resolution ended up being the Dodgers acquiring Graterol from the Minnesota Twins for themselves, sending other prospects to Boston.
So far, the Graterol acquisition is looking like a smart one for L.A. as the 22-year-old and his 100 mph fastball have fit in nicely in the Dodgers’ bullpen. Additionally, his vibrance and youth have brought a breath of fresh air to the Dodgers’ clubhouse, already making him a fan-favorite.
“I’m really positive. I like have that kind of energy and excitement, because you never know what’s going to happen. I try to bring that and focus my energy toward my teammates as well,” Graterol said.
“My mentality and mindset is really aggressive (when pitching), but my personality and what I want is to be more toward the happy side of things. That’s what I bring to the field. I can incorporate both the aggressive side and having joy.”
The issue the Red Sox took with acquiring Graterol was they didn’t view him as a starter long-term. The Dodgers may not either, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable piece to the organization as a potential future closer.
He has pitched as both a starter and reliever in his career and is prepared to do whatever is asked of him with the Dodgers.
“My mentality is starter, reliever or closer. I’m working. I’m working on everything the manager says,” Graterol explained. “I feel comfortable as a starter, reliever or closer. I feel great with everything.”
Despite how hard he throws, Graterol as mostly pitched to contact this season. In 17 appearances, he has a 3.24 ERA, 3.12 FIP and 0.96 WHIP with only eight strikeouts and two walks in 16.2 innings. He is not concerned with his low strikeout numbers, however.
“I feel very great, very comfortable. Not a lot of strikeouts because I throw a fastball and slider, so they swing and swing and swing. A lot of contact,” Graterol said. “If I get three outs, I’m good. Ground ball, fly ball, double play, something like that, great.”
A lot of times moving across the country and joining a new organization can be difficult for a young player. Graterol has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Dodgers so far though.
“I’m so happy to be here. My teammates are great, they’re like family. I’m so excited to be here,” he gushed.
Graterol gives origin of nickname
When Graterol first got to L.A., it was revealed that his nickname is the “Buffalo.” In recent months, however, he has stated that he actually prefers to be called “Bazooka.”
The nickname is a perfect one considering how hard he throws and the energy he brings on a daily basis. “It was last year with the Twins. When I pitched against Cleveland, it was a very good game,” Graterol began to explain of his nickname.
“When I threw my last pitch, it was a strikeout and I looked like a bazooka. After that, the guys said, ‘Hey, the nickname for you is Bazooka.'”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events and more!