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Posted August 3, 2014 by Daniel Levitt in American League
 
 

Kendall Graveman: Flying Under The Radar

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kendall graveman

Minor League Baseball. Stingy hotels, overnight bus journeys and a daily grind. It’s a far cry from the money and glamour of the major leagues. On the contrary, the minor-league adventure represents opportunity and destiny.

That opportunity and destiny is being realized as we speak for one Toronto Blue Jay minor-leaguer: Kendall Graveman.

Graveman has ripped through the Blue Jays’ farm-system this season, dominating batters in almost ever facet of the game. His meteoric ascent started with the Single A Lansing Lugnuts in April and has now reached the Triple A Buffalo Bisons, meaning he has trampled through four minor-league levels in just four months, and now finds himself at his highest echelon to date.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the twenty-three year-old’s imminent promotion to the Double A New Hampshire Fisher CatsThe next day he received that call up.

Very rarely does a story like this happen, where a player carves through more than two levels and, when it does, it is typically a highly-touted prospect or recent draft pick on a fast-track to the show. That’s what makes Graveman’s run so special, the fact that the former Mississippi State Bulldog isn’t even considered one of Blue Jays’ top 20 prospects, according to MLB.com.

That raises the question of whether impressive stats alone are enough to get to the big leagues? Andrew Stoeten of drunkjaysfans.com doesn’t seem to think so.

I told him that I thought Graveman could have an outside look of making the Jays next year.

His response was fair, considering the starting rotation is likely to be something along the lines of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison and Aaron Sanchez to start the season, but with question marks surrounding the last two of those names, Graveman may well be in with a shot of a starting spot at some point in 2015.

Or perhaps, in light of the success of Sanchez pitching out of the pen for the Blue Jays thus far, Graveman may be molded into a similar role next year. He pitched primarily as a reliever as a freshman in college and has a decent ground ball percentage, meaning a switch to the pen wouldn’t alienate the right-hander completely.

When I suggested to Stoeten that Graveman deserved at least “a chance”, this is where our opinions diverged.

When you look at the names who will be invited to spring training in March, the likes of Daniel NorrisKyle DrabekRicky Romero and Sean Nolin will be the front runners for an “outside shot” of making the 25 man roster, whether it be in the rotation or the pen. Throw in Graveman and, apart from Norris, he will not necessarily be the most popular choice, but possibly the brightest prospect of them all.

His history to most is abstruse, granted, but Graveman has answered every question of him so far and continues to do so in Buffalo.

Kendall Graveman’s pro ball stats:

Year Team League W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
2013 LAN MID 1 3 4.31 10 10 0 0 0 39.2 41 23 19 3 13 25 2.37 .266
2013 Minors 1 3 4.31 10 10 0 0 0 39.2 41 23 19 3 13 25 2.37 .266
2014 LAN MID 2 0 0.34 4 4 0 0 0 26.1 11 2 1 0 6 25 2.47 .126
2014 DUN FSL 8 4 2.23 16 16 0 0 0 96.2 89 29 24 1 18 64 1.74 .243
2014 NH EAS 1 0 1.50 1 1 0 0 0 6.0 8 1 1 0 2 4 1.20 .364
2014 BUF INT 0 1 3.00 1 1 0 0 0 6.0 8 2 2 0 0 4 3.33 .333
2014 Minors 11 5 1.87 22 22 0 0 0 135.0 116 34 28 1 26 97 1.86 .232

Graveman was impressive in his Triple A debut last night for Buffalo. He pitched 6 innings giving up 2 earned runs on 8 hits, including 4 strike outs on 86 pitches. As the radar continues to ignore Toronto’s new rising star, Kendall Graveman is now just one step away from the show.


Daniel Levitt

 
Daniel Levitt
Daniel has been a Blue Jays fan all the way from the UK since he was twelve years old, staying up till the early hours of the morning watching games online. Daniel is eager to enthral you all with his love and passion for baseball. Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielLevitt32.