Graham Spraker – RHP
A name that fans may already be aware of, right-hander Graham Spraker is another Blue Jays minor leaguer who had a fantastic 2021 campaign and could be pushing for a spot on the active roster sooner than the other players mentioned above.
Drafted by the Blue Jays back in 2017, Spraker has spent the past four seasons across almost every level of minor league system, compiling a 2.82 ERA through 95 appearences (34 starts). Through 287.1 innings pitched, the Quincy University alum has ammased 252 strikeouts compared to 86 walks to the tune of a 7.9 SO/9, 2.7 BB/9, and a 1.142 WHIP primarily out of the bullpen.
Spending a majority of the 2021 campaign in AA with the Fisher Cats, Spraker put forth one of his seasons in the Jays farm system, posting a 2.74 ERA through 30 appearances with 62 strikeouts and only 13 earned runs through 42.2 innings. He made one appearance in AAA, pitching two clean innings while giving up two hits with three strikeouts but it was his play in the Arizona Fall League that made headlines.
With the Mesa Solar Sox, Spraker was one of the top reliever in the AFL, appearing in 11 games and did not allow a single run (earned or unearned) and only allowed four hits through 11.1 innings of work. He also racked up 17 strikeouts and two walks on his way to a 0.529 WHIP and a nomination to the AFL East All-Stars team.
The one difference between Spraker and the rest of the candidates mentioned in this article is the possibility Blue Jays fans may not get to see him play next season within the clubs farm system.
The Arizona product is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft and was not protected by the club on the 40-man roster before the deadline, meaning he could be selected if or when the draft occurs this offseason.
With the CBA currently expired and both the MLB and the MLBPA still without a deal in place, the Rule 5 Draft was essentially put on hiatus when the owners locked out the players. It appears that the draft will most likely occur after a new CBA is put in place, meaning Spraker could be available for a team willing to take a chance on the right-hander, but nothing is guarenteed until a new agreement is in effect.
He could always be returned sometime during the 2022 season if he is selected, similar to Jordan Romano being returned back in 2019, but it is a bit surprising the club decided to leave him exposed given his numbers in the minor leagues.