Los Angeles Dodgers

Brusdar Graterol is Boosting the Dodgers Bullpen On and Off the Diamond

Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol is making an immediate impact on the field and with his teammates.

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Cows run away from the storm while the buffalo runs towards it.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a buffalo on their team, and he's quickly becoming a favorite both with fans and players.

Originally, Brusdar Graterol wasn't supposed to be playing the 2020 MLB season with the Dodgers. Signed by the Minnesota Twins as an international free agent in 2014, Graterol could have remained in the Twin Cities or be pitching in Boston as part of a three-team trade between the Dodgers, Twins, and Red Sox that was agreed to on Feb. 5.

In the original iteration of the trade that would ultimately bring 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, Graterol was to be sent from Minnesota to Boston with Dodgers' pitcher Kenta Maeda heading to the Twins and prospect Alex Verdugo to the Red Sox. However, the Red Sox were concerned with Graterol's medicals and the original deal fell apart.

A couple of weeks later, the three-team deal was nixed and the Dodgers completed two separate deals instead in order to satisfy both teams. The deal with the Twins sent Graterol back to Los Angeles in return for Maeda. The hard-throwing right-hander is now part of a bullpen that has amassed a 1.31 ERA on the season, the second best in baseball.

Brusdar "The Buffalo" Graterol has been a big part of that success, allowing just one earned run through his first five appearances with the Dodgers.

"My new family," Graterol says about the Dodgers. "I think I feel much better with these people. They've helped me a lot."

Little does he know it, Graterol has helped them as well. From his seat in the bullpen, Graterol has become the Dodgers biggest cheerleader during games.

Turns out Graterol is one big ball of energy and happiness all the time. The 21-year-old Venezuelan native is also making a big impact in the clubhouse too.

"This guy is like a ball of sunshine down there [the bullpen]," said Dodgers' bullpen coach Josh Bard on Wednesday. "It's just incredible. We've been blown away with not only how well he's thrown the ball, but the teammate he is. He makes us laugh down there all the time. This guy is an absolute stud and the sky is the limit for him."

In the meantime, Graterol is comfortable in his new role with the Dodgers as a high-leverage reliever. Thanks to a four-seam fastball and sinker that have been clocked as high as 102MPH, Graterol is thought by some to be the heir to Kenley Jansen's role as the Dodgers closer. His high-velocity has also earned him a new nickname from his teammates as well, "Bazooka."

"Right now, I like Bazooka," said Graterol, when asked which nickname he prefers. "I think the Bazooka for me is very hard. So I think Bazooka."

Personally, I think Graterol can incorporate both nicknames. "The Buffalo Bazooka," a player who charges after every storm armed with a bazooka. What's not to love about that?

"I'll be ready for every day, for every moment," added Graterol.

Hopefully those moments will be long lasting with the Dodgers and include many postseason appearances and victories.

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