J.R. Graham Focusing On Getting Better and Back to the Show – Pinstriped Prospects
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J.R. Graham Focusing On Getting Better and Back to the Show

JR Graham (Martin Griff)

Pitching is an art that very few have mastered. In modern day baseball you can count on your fingers and toes the true lock down starting and relief pitchers. You would start with starters such as Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, and closers like Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel.

While those guys are hard to come by; it is easier to fall into the category of a pitcher who is just trying to make the most of his opportunity. The guys who have had their chance and continues to work to get another one.

For the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders that guy is J.R. Graham. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Atlanta Braves. The 5’11’’ right hander was then selected by Minnesota Twins in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft.

By being a Rule 5 Selection, Graham would have to pitch the entire 2015 with the Twins or he would be offered back to the Braves and he did just that. Graham made the major league club and pitched the whole 2015 season in Minnesota.

Graham started one game but made his hay mostly out of the bullpen with 39 appearances. He pitched to a 4.95 ERA over 63.2 innings. He allowed 73 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 53 would be batters. Graham pitched one game for the Twins in 2016 but was then designated for assignment and traded to the Yankees and assigned to Double-A Trenton.

“I have been there. I have seen guys go up and down. It is just part of the game. We are all trying to get back there. We are all working.”, said Graham. “There is always something to work on; fastball command, slider, split. Just a little bit of everything.”

No one is more familiar with the RailRIders pitching staff like Kyle Higashioka is. He has caught everyone at the roster at some point and knows when Graham is at his best.

“He has a lot of life on his fastball and locates his off speed pitches”, said Higashioka. “Most of these guys I know from spring training or just being around. I have already known all of them from previous experience so it’s been easy from that aspect.”

For Graham he understands that he has to perform at a high level and try to get back to the major leagues.

“I just got to get better. It does not stop. There is not one thing that I want to focus on because I feel like if you focus on one thing you will decrease in another area. It is just a constant refining of my tools.”, said Graham.

In 20 appearances this year in Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Graham has pitched to a 2.49 ERA in 25.1 innings. He has held hitters to a .276 average and has struck out 27 hitters.

Pitching is an art that very few have mastered. In modern day baseball you can count on your fingers and toes the true lock down starting and relief pitchers. You would start with starters such as Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, and closers like Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel.

While those guys are hard to come by; it is easier to fall into the category of a pitcher who is just trying to make the most of his opportunity. The guys who have had their chance and continues to work to get another one.

For the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders that guy is J.R. Graham. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Atlanta Braves. The 5’11’’ right hander was then selected by Minnesota Twins in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft.

By being a Rule 5 Selection, Graham would have to pitch the entire 2015 with the Twins or he would be offered back to the Braves and he did just that. Graham made the major league club and pitched the whole 2015 season in Minnesota.

Graham started one game but made his hay mostly out of the bullpen with 39 appearances. He pitched to a 4.95 ERA over 63.2 innings. He allowed 73 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 53 would be batters. Graham pitched one game for the Twins in 2016 but was then designated for assignment and traded to the Yankees and assigned to Double-A Trenton.

“I have been there. I have seen guys go up and down. It is just part of the game. We are all trying to get back there. We are all working.”, said Graham. “There is always something to work on; fastball command, slider, split. Just a little bit of everything.”

No one is more familiar with the RailRIders pitching staff like Kyle Higashioka is. He has caught everyone at the roster at some point and knows when Graham is at his best.

“He has a lot of life on his fastball and locates his off speed pitches”, said Higashioka. “Most of these guys I know from spring training or just being around. I have already known all of them from previous experience so it’s been easy from that aspect.”

For Graham he understands that he has to perform at a high level and try to get back to the major leagues.

“I just got to get better. It does not stop. There is not one thing that I want to focus on because I feel like if you focus on one thing you will decrease in another area. It is just a constant refining of my tools.”, said Graham.

In 20 appearances this year in Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Graham has pitched to a 2.49 ERA in 25.1 innings. He has held hitters to a .276 average and has struck out 27 hitters.

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