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School: Missouri; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-1; Weight: 173 pounds
Previously Drafted: St. Louis Cardinals, 26th round, 2011
Background: Not particularly tall, just 6-foot-1, and still has plenty of room to fill out — he’s just 173 pounds — Graves, nonetheless, was plucked out of high school by his hometown club, the St. Louis Cardinals, in the late rounds of the 2011 draft.
After splitting time between the rotation and bullpen as a true freshman, the right-hander has spent the last two years working as one of Mizzou’s better starting pitchers, one of which was spent teaming with Cubs second round pick Rob Zastryzny last year.
Graves is on pace for career bests in the most important statistical categories for a pitcher: strike and walk rates. Through 85.0 innings this season, he’s averaged 6.46 K/9 and 1.59 BB/9.
Projection: Where are the strikeouts? While his K-rate has bounced back nicely from a career worst 4.06 last year, he still hasn’t missed even an average amount of bats. The control is obviously an above-average to plus skill, but at some point he’s going to need to miss bats. Period.
Backend starting option, maybe a decent fourth as things stand right now. And per the usual, he could always get pushed into late-inning role down the line.
Ceiling: 1.5- to 2.0-win player
Floor: 0.5-win player
Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Low
Draft Projection: Third/Fourth Round
Photo Courtesy of columbiamissourian.com.