Kendall Graveman Ready For Next Level
2014 has been a very busy year thus far on the farm for the Toronto Blue Jays. In light of the mega-trades in December of 2012 that saw six of the organization’s top prospects traded away, the club’s minor-league affiliates have worked overtime in trying to develop the existing talent they have left.
One name who has soared under that extra attention is Kendall Graveman, selected in the 8th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.
Graveman joined the Single-A Lansing Lugnuts just weeks after he was drafted and pitched in 10 starts to post mediocre numbers.Perhaps this was down to the sudden jump from college ball to the minors in the very same summer; the former Mississippi State Bulldog thinks so.
“The minor-leaguers have a lot of tools. You see some guys that just do some special things”, Graveman told jaysjournal.com earlier this season.
A year later and the 23 year-old was back where he started, but this time he excelled for the Lugnuts. In 4 starts, the right-hander posted a 2-0 record and 0.34 ERA, along with 25 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.
Those numbers were enough to earn him a call up to Toronto’s Single-A advanced Dunedin Blue Jays, and has not looked back since. Since his promotion, the 6’2 hurler has impressed for a 8-3 record and 2.30 ERA in 14 starts, giving up just 1 home run in that time.
Graveman was actually drafted in 2012 by the Miami Marlins, however the 36th round selection was not high enough and he returned for his senior season for the Bulldogs. A smart decision it was, as Graveman and the Bulldogs starred in a run all the way to the College World Series a year later. With his control and durable arm on full show, the Blue Jays were thrilled to get him as low as the 8th round.
Graveman has seen a couple of fellow pitchers earn the call up to the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats thus season, and the Alabama native may well follow in their footsteps in the latter months of the baseball calendar, in what would mark an rapid rise through the ranks.
Daniel Norris has held his own for the Fisher Cats thus far, posting a 4.24 ERA and 1-0 record, meanwhile Matt Boyd has struggled for a 1-3 record and 6.52 ERA. Boyd was in fact a former opponent of Graveman’s just a year when their respective colleges faced off in the CWS Semi-Finals.
Jaysjournal.com asked whether he has spoken with his current teammate about being on opposite sides, “I have, quite a few times. I jab him about it, but we have a good time about”.
Blue Jays General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos, faces an enigma with Graveman, who turns 24 in December and figures to be ready for the next level. The Dunedin Blue Jays however have already secured a spot in Florida State League’s playoffs, after winning the FSL North league’s first half of the season with a 46-23 record.
The decision will be whether to test Kendall Graveman at New Hampshire to get a taster for Double-A next season, or to keep with at Single-A for some valuable postseason experience with the Blue Jays. No matter the choice, Toronto looks to have a future gem on its hands.