Justin Bruihl and Brusdar Graterol
Let’s beef up that bullpen, baby! Perhaps this newcomer and breakout 2020 talent will help accomplish that in 2022.
Bruihl, who many were unaware existed until September, made his MLB debut last year, appearing in 21 games and registering a 2.89 ERA and 1.07 WHIP (mostly as a reliever with the exception of two “opener” performances). His fastball-cutter-slider combo proved to be effective, but next season will be more telling when we have a larger sample size.
He doesn’t overwhelm hitters with velocity (90.4 MPH sinker and 88.2 MPH cutter), so fans are hoping his expected ERA of 3.78, 3.79 FIP and 11 strikeouts across 18.2 innings aren’t a sign of a worst-case scenario brewing. Then again, the left-hander was able to handle three successful postseason outings with relative ease, so perhaps the 24-year-old’s just got “it.”
In the case of Graterol, fans would love to see more out of the hefty righty, who throws bowling ball sinkers akin to Blake Treinen’s (in addition to a slider, cutter and four-seamer). But a bout with COVID and forearm tightness seemingly held him back in 2021, which resulted in an unsightly 4.59 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and just 27 strikeouts in 33.1 innings. Hopefully the Red Sox weren’t right about his injury history when they reneged on the first version of the Mookie Betts trade back in 2020.
If healthy and used properly, Graterol, just 23, can be a weapon in the back end of the bullpen, which he showed flashes of during the team’s World Series run two seasons ago. It doesn’t help that a lockout might be affecting his offseason training, but fans are keeping their fingers crossed that he’s not interrupted, as he was heading into 2022.