102.5! Graterol lights up the radar gun

October 13th, 2021

Imagine being able to routinely hit triple-digits on the radar gun. Now, imagine those fireballs you threw can veer nearly three feet before they hit the catcher’s mitt.

Then, imagine you’re the batter trying to hit all that.

The Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches in their bullpen, but still manages to amaze. The right-hander climbed the mound for the sixth inning of Tuesday’s 7-2 Dodgers victory over the Giants in NLDS Game 4, and started the frame with a 102.5 mph sinker to San Francisco star Buster Posey for a called strike.

We’ve seen Graterol throw extremely hard before, but 102.5 mph set a new standard as his fastest-tracked pitch in the big leagues according to Statcast. It also tied former Dodger Jonathan Broxton for Los Angeles’ third-fastest tracked pitch on record since the start of pitch tracking in 2008, with only a pair of 103.3 mph and 102.8 mph fastballs thrown by Broxton on July 3, 2009, topping Graterol on that list.

Graterol immediately followed that opening salvo with a 102 mph sinker to Posey, who eventually grounded out against a mere 101.5 mph offering. But Graterol wasn’t quite done making statements; his first pitch to Evan Longoria also clocked in at 102.5 mph -- and this sinker featured 19.2 inches of horizontal break and 18 inches of vertical break, per Statcast, to freeze Longoria for strike one.

Graterol wasn’t perfect, working around a Kris Bryant single off a 102 mph pitch, but he emerged from the sixth inning with a clean bill as he preserved the Dodgers' lead. But his appearance was more than the scoreless frame on the box score: one of baseball’s hardest throwers set a new radar-gun target for himself moving forward.