In this ongoing series that will last most of spring training, we’re going to look at each player that will be in Major League camp with the Cincinnati Reds. Each post will have some information on the player. There will be some background information, profiling, projections, and more. To see all of the posts in the series, you can click here. Today we are going to look at catcher Juan Graterol.

Juan Graterol’s Background

Acquired: Non-drafted free agent signing in September 2005 by the Royals. Was claimed by the Reds on waivers in October. He was non-tendered in November and immediately re-signed as a minor league free agent with the club.

Born: 2/14/1989

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height/Weight: 6′ 1″ / 205 lbs

Years of MLB Experience: Three.

Born in Venezuela, Juan Graterol originally signed with the Kansas City Royals as a 17-year-old international free agent in 2005. He spent the next decade in the minor leagues before reaching the Majors in 2016 with the Angels. From 2016-2018 he saw limited big league action for the Angels and Twins. This is the second stint in the Reds organization for Graterol, though the first time he has played. The organization claimed him on waivers in December of 2016, but lost him on waivers a month later.

Juan Graterol’s 2018 Season

The 2018 season for Juan Graterol was one with plenty of travel. He began the season in Triple-A with the Angels affiliate in Salt Lake. He played there through the first month of the season, but was called up to the Major Leagues in early May. The catcher played in one game with the Angels, going 1-1 as a pinch hitter. He was then sent back to Salt Lake where he played for the next month, sparingly. The Angels released him on June 24th.

The Minnesota Twins signed him rather quickly and he was back on the field four days later. Minnesota assigned him to their affiliate in Rochester where he would play for the next two months, finishing out the Triple-A season. Three weeks later he was called up to join the Twins to finish out the year for them in the Majors. He played in three games over the final two weeks. Between his two Triple-A stops he hit .301/.330/.354 with 5 walks and 13 strikeouts in 219 plate appearances. In the Majors he went 2-8 with a walk.

Juan Graterol’s Playing History

The 30-year-old Juan Graterol has been around for a while. As an international signing he got his career started in the minor leagues at age 17, playing for the Dominican Summer League Royals in 2006. The next year he moved stateside and joined the Burlington Royals in the Appalachian League, and he’s worked his way up from there. At no point in his minor league career did he ever play in more than 77 games in a single season. At no point in his career as a professional has he ever played 80 games in a season across any single season.

He’s always been a guy who makes tons of contact. And Juan Graterol is a guy who has never hit for power. He didn’t hit his first home run until 2011 – his sixth season of professional baseball. His second home run didn’t come until the next season. His 10th home run of his career didn’t come until 2014, nearly a decade after he began playing. In 589 minor league games, and 61 more in the majors, he’s got a total of 13 home runs. What he can do is catch. He’s renowned for his defensive abilities and how he handles a pitching staff.

Projecting Juan Graterol for 2019

Both ZiPS and Marcels took shots at projecting Juan Graterol for 2019. Marcels was a lot more friendly, believing that he somehow finds more power than he’s ever remotely shown in his career.

ZiPS Projections | Steamer Projections | Marcels Projections

How could Juan Graterol fit in Cincinnati in 2019?

The path to playing time for Juan Graterol is the same that it’s been for the last few years: Injuries. Not at all known for his bat, and not a player who has ever even been the main starting catcher in the minor leagues – he’s known for his outstanding defense. If the Reds need a catcher to come up and be the back up, Graterol could be that guy. Even with the question of Curt Casali being ready to start the year, his non-40-man roster spot leaves it tough to see where he’d get the nod over a guy like Kyle Farmer or Connor Joe if the Reds needed someone to fill in for Casali to begin the season.