We’ve given you a bevy of elite player battles thus far. This time we wanted to switch off the bats and climb down the rankings a bit more to two guys who had breakout seasons in 2018. And perhaps of more interest to you, these are two players that are still reasonably fair priced in dynasty leagues, unlike Alex Kiriloff, Carter Kieboom or some of the previous names. We hope we can give you a trade target by the time you finish reading. It’s Padres righty Luis Patiño versus Twins righty Brusdar Graterol.
These two pitchers are not just similar in fantasy ranking, but in stature, arsenal and even head whack. Both feature live fastballs that sit in the mid-90s and can touch 98 (Graterol’s can touch 100). They complement it with a slider, a potential plus pitch for each. And they round it out with a curveball and changeup that still need work.
Patiño is a year younger and dominated the Midwest (29.7 K%, 7.3 BB%, 2.16 ERA) in his first taste of full-season ball, but Graterol moved equally as fast, reaching High-A as a 19-year-old and putting up strong numbers (22.2 K%, 7.5 BB%, 3.12 ERA). Graterol has exhibited slightly better control than Patiño up to this point as well.
Ultimately I prefer Patiño. His performance as an 18-year-old the entire season was more than encouraging and his secondaries are a little bit more refined than Graterol’s. As Lance noted in his Padres Top 30, Patiño quickly developed a slider at the organization’s request and while he momentarily lost feel for his curveball, it’s something I think he can re-learn as he balances his arsenal in 2019. I don’t think the height of either of these two point to a relief future, but Graterol’s short stride and more violent delivery still hasn’t closed the door on the possibility. The Twins righty did good by logging more than 100 innings, a good sign of durability considering previous Tommy John, but Patiño has (so far) a clean bill of health. When we’re picking nits, it’s the little things that matter and Patiño’s age, performance, delivery and better feel for pitches gives him the edge. -Eddy Almaguer
Graterol vs Patiño, two of the more exciting pitching prospects to pop onto our radar in recent years. Brusdar caught our attention in 2017 with a big fastball, and a standout performance in the Midwest League. While Patiño popped onto our radar as one of the top performers on a loaded Fort Wayne club. When tasked with choosing the better prospect I lean Patiño, here’s why.
The arsenals of the two are similar with Patiño mixing fastball, slider, curveball, changeup and Graterol mixing fastball, slider, and a changeup. Graterol has the advantage in fastball velocity and grades, consistently working in the upper 90s while showing the ability to spot it. Patiño’s fastball while still plus, doesn’t compare to Brusdar’s velocity. Patiño however gains the advantage in secondaries, I prefer his slider slightly and have hope he rediscovers his curveball feel. It’s an even split with the changeup as both flash the desired arm speed to develop at least average offspeed pitches. This is an interesting angle to watch for in 2019 with each of their performances. -Jason Woodell
So far we’ve tied coming out of the pitch mix battle, so what’s the difference between the two? Simple, it’s the mechanical issues Graterol carries with his violent delivery and injury history. When contrasting with a player like Patiño, whose athleticism drips from his MacKenzie Gore-like windup, and toned down delivery from the stretch.
Despite having a significantly less yoked lower half than Brusdar, I don’t feel he mechanically presents the same risks. This leaves me comfortable projecting Patiño to continue to improve with little worry of an increased workload leading to a decrease in performance. This to an extent happened to as he saw a decrease in strikeouts and an increase free passes in the level jump and increased workload. This one was close, but it’s Patiño by a hair. -Ralph Lifshitz
As I look at these two young arms there’s a lot to like with each. With Patiño you have one of the highest risers in prospect circles, and that’s to be expected when you pitch the way that he did in the Midwest League. Teenage arms aren’t supposed to rip through full-season leagues like he did. Patiño has four pitches, but the arsenal is led by his 94-95 MPH heater that can bump up to 97, and his slider which he just began throwing recently and already gets plus grades. He also features a curveball and a change and both project out to be average offerings as they gain consistency. Patiño is the more athletic of the two, and he shows it off with a delivery reminiscent of his Ft. Wayne teammate MacKenzie Gore. He lacks physical projection but still has the ceiling of a number three starter to me. He checked in at number 73 on my personal top 100 list.
Brusdar has a similar pitch mix as Patiño, but possesses a better fastball as he can touch triple digits. His slider is also his best secondary and his four-pitch mix also has a curveball and a change like Patiño. When comparing the two I prefer the delivery of Patiño over Graterol due to certain concerns I have with Brusdar’s lack of extension. Physically I also prefer Patiño due to future concerns with Brusdar’s frame. It’s very likely Brusdar’s body will require some maintenance in the future and he’s already had Tommy John. With all that being said I do think Brusdar has a higher ceiling, and that shows in my ranking of him at number 64 on my personal top 100. Patiño is more likely to stick in the rotation though, which gives him a higher floor. I’ll shoot for the moon here and take Graterol who I think can be a number two starter at the big league level. There’s strong reliever risk but if he’s a reliever he will be a high leverage one, and one that will have fantasy value if thrust into that role. - Matt Thompson
In our Prospect’s Live Top 100, Patiño ranked 54th. That is also where I had him on my own Top 100 as well. Brusdar went unranked for me and clocked in at 74th on the PL 100. When comparing these two specific players, I wouldn’t go so far to say that 46+ spots separates them. They are close in my mind. There a few separators between the two that leads me to view Patiño a bit more favorably. Patiño’s delivery is much more fluid and athletic. He gets better extension than Graterol, who is a short-strider. Better extension = better movement, more groundballs. Patiño’s feel for his secondaries are also a tick ahead of Graterol. Both pitchers come with risk and could end up in the bullpen. Neither has an average change-up. However, the athletic delivery and extension lead me to believe that Patiño has a better shot at sticking in rotation. - Jason Pennini