Starting a minor league career as a Latin American free agent is a good start towards being a non-hyped prospect. There's no draft day blurb in the newspaper or on the web to welcome them, no amateur scouting reports, no grainy youtube video, no facebook friends posting on message boards. If they're young, as they usually are, what follows is a number of years bouncing around the rookie leagues, which remain safe bastions of obscurity. This has been the path of non-hyped prospect, if we can call him that, Juan Graterol. Consider him a large, Venezuelan, non-batting helmet wearing in the field, less good, Jon Olerud. Who also kinda sorta catches.
Signed out of Venezuela, Graterol has been in the Royal system since 2006. Since then, it four minor league seasons to progress to Wilmington, the organization's High A team. It was hardly a crowning. Graterol managed to play in just three games for the Blue Rocks, going 0-6 with a walk.
Graterol has had an up and down tenure as a Royal page. As 17 year old with the team's Dominican League team, he managed to hit .296/.386/.349. (Although both his teammates and coaches must have been horrified by his extremely effeminate plate discipline.) He then bombed miserably at the North Carolina Burlington in 2007, but was semi-decent as a Chukar in 2008. In two seasons at the Iowa Burlington, he did manage a composite .300/.343/.340. Not really that awesome, but of course, there are catcher bonus points.
Only, Graterol has increasingly been playing as a 1B. Mix in what appears to be a spotty health record, and we've got real problems. All told, his lifetime line in the minors is .278/.349/.315. Obviously, that slugging percentage underscores a true lack of power. In 641 plate appearances Graterol has zero homers, zero triples, and just 21 doubles. He walks and he hits ground ball singles and that's it.
Prior to last season, the blog Royal Revival named Graterol their #34 Prospect however. That post does point out that Graterol does display could patience and has solid contact skills... so there is something to build on. Or was. Graterol's losing of the catcher's mitt seemingly spells doom for his career. By the book, Graterol would be set to start this next season back in Wilmington. I'm sad to say that his career prospects look even worse than mine.