Kendall Graveman has been impressive during Spring Training for the Oakland Athletics. Because of his performance, a regular season rotation spot seems inevitable for the 25-year-old. In case you forgot how Graveman ended up in Oakland, one can look back to the highly discussed Josh Donaldson trade that sent the A’s third baseman to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The A’s have already moved on from that transaction. What’s more, it was likely never second guessed by Oakland management. Part of that confidence had to be the result of Graveman, a confident right-hander who has gone 3-0 in five March starts. In his 21.1 innings, the youngster out of Mississippi State has surrendered only one earned run.
For an overview of Oakland’s starting rotation, the only definite spots belong to Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir. Jesse Hahn‘s is probably locked up as well. The same can likely be said about Drew Pomeranz. For that coveted fifth spot, Graveman has clearly performed enough to warrant inclusion. Barry Zito doesn’t seem destined for a roster spot, and Jesse Chavez is better suited in long relief.
If Graveman’s success crosses over into the regular season, Billy Beane might find more supporters on his side. With only five games logged in his MLB career, Graveman is set to be an affordable hurler for multiple seasons. His sinker and non-strikeout approach also makes him a candidate to avoid regular DL stints.
Hahn and Pomeranz can also be thrown into the affordable and under club control categorization. That’s why Graveman’s shot at success is wonderful news for Athletics fans. He represents the ideological backbone of Beane. He is, quite literally, what the A’s are all about. His most notable characteristic is probably the fact that he’s been undervalued by everyone other than Oakland. That’s not exactly an uncommon occurrence.
It would be foolish to marvel over Graveman’s March numbers without admitting a clear truth: March stats mean little unless the same likeness occurs in April and beyond. That’s the reason this article isn’t designed to praise Graveman for his coming-out-party. Beane hasn’t been proved a genius yet on this right-hander.
That’s the potential direction here, though. We might reach that end result where skeptics and previous doubters wonder how an unimposing hurler who lives in the low-90s on his heater can thrive. Nothing about Kendall Graveman screams MLB success. If his five Spring Training starts are telling us anything, however, it’s that his look, his perceived value, mean nothing compared to how he pitches for the Oakland Athletics.