On August 1st two Toronto Blue Jays prospects received promotions, Kendall Graveman and Taylor Cole. Of the two promotions, the Kendall Graveman promotion had me scratching my head wondering, “what’s the rush?”. After all Graveman started 2014 as member of the Lansing Lugnuts and after 4 dominating starts was on his way to Dunedin. Now this promotion came as no surprise and was actually anticipated since Graveman was pitching to guys a full year younger than him and he had spent 2013 at this level.
In Dunedin he continued to dominate in 16 starts and it seemed only a matter of time before he was on the move again….an 8-4, 2.23 ERA will do that. In New Hampshire, Graveman made a single start…just one appearance. He pitched 6.0IP and allowed one run on 8 hits while striking out 4 and walking 2. A good start and a good sign that he wasn’t over matched by players 1.7 years older.
I was pretty certain that he would remain a Fisher Cat until a month into 2015 when you take into consideration he had already taken huge steps this season, but off he went to Triple-A Buffalo. This is where things start to get a little suspect for me.
Come on Alex, are you sure this was the right choice? Here are other guys in the Fisher Cats starting rotation that I think deserved the opportunity to pitch for the Bisons.
Copeland and Lawrence are both 26 years old and have demonstrated an ability to limit walks and fly ball outs; however, neither possess outstanding FIP this season. Casey Lawrence has allowed his fair of hits but he has shown an ability to get out a jam with a 72.8% LOB, which is slightly better than average. By comparison, Mark Buehrle has a LOB% of 78.6 in 2014 while averaging more than a hit an inning. Lawrence had a cup of coffee with the Bisons last season that didn’t go swimmingly but that shouldn’t be held against him…should it?
Copeland has been victimized by the long ball this season and gives up too many hits (a hit an inning). Copeland has stranded runners to a tune of 67.5%, which might explain why he didn’t get the call to Buffalo.
If you follow the Blue Jays, you know all about Daniel Norris so I won’t spend too much time on him. Norris seems to be the new belle of the ball and will top many Blue Jays Top Prospect lists. With that said, Norris has struggled in 7 Double-A starts, so he really needs more time at this level.
Now you can argue that the ceiling for Copeland and Lawrence are nothing more than 5th starter/relief material and that is reason enough for them to remain at Double-A, while Graveman blows by them on the organizational depth chart. I disagree. When Graveman was drafted many felt his ceiling was that of a 4th or 5th starter, so what changed? My answer…..the trade deadline.
I think that Alex Anthopoulos realized that he better fast track some of his pitching prospect now to increase their value in an August deal. This writer thinks that other GM’s don’t value our lower level prospects as highly as AA does and having them pitch closer to the major league will remedy this. I really hope that I am wrong about this. I really hope that Kendall Graveman was promoted primarily on what he has accomplishment in 2014 and that management just wanted to see how high his stock could rise.
What do you think? Are these stats enough to get a guy from Lansing to Buffalo in less than a season?
Kendall Graveman’s 2014 Stats