A @SOXNERD LOOK AT THE NEW GUY — KENDALL GRAVEMAN

Here’s a look — @soxnerd style — at impending signee pitcher Kendall Graveman:

*The right-hander will join the Sox after going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in the postseason for the 2021 Astros. Included in that run were three outings against the Sox in the American League Division Series where he logged a 3.00 ERA

*Graveman ranked fifth in the American League in opponent batting average (.180), third in
opponent OPS (.536), third in ERA (1.77) and 12th in WHIP (0.98) for the Astros and Mariners in 2021.

*Graveman’s eighth and ninth inning numbers in 2021 are a little concerning considering he won’t be the closer and in light of the Craig Kimbrel debacle.

Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers ever, joined the White Sox in 2021 with a 2.35 career ERA in the eighth inning. Good? Yes but it’s not even close to the dominating numbers he posted in the ninth throughout his career. The Sox would have taken that 2.35 ERA. Kimbrel posted a 4.42 ERA in the eighth in 2021.

Graveman’s eighth-inning ERA (3.12 in 27 games) was over two runs higher than his ninth-inning ERA (1.02 in 18 appearances) in 2021.

The good news here, though, is that Graveman’s 2021 ERA in the seventh was a nifty 0.96 in 12 outings.

*This will mark the second consecutive year the Sox plucked a reliever from the team that ousted them in the postseason. Last year the Sox got closer Liam Hendriks after he finished them off for Oakland in the first round of the playoffs

*Graveman wore No. 31 for Houston last season. That won’t fly in Chicago because Hendriks wears 31.

*Graveman will be the first Mississippi State product to play for the Sox since pitcher Matt Ginter in 2003. … His teammates at MSU included Adam Frazier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Woodruff.

*Graveman spent a majority of his first few seasons as a starter. Between 2014 and 2018 all but five of his 83 appearances were starts. He made 78 consecutive starts between 2015 and 2018.

*Graveman’s only shutout came at Guaranteed Rate Field.

On Aug. 19, 2016, Graveman faced one over the minimum in the A’s 9-0 win over the on-the-brink of tearing it down White Sox.

Making his 45th start (54th appearance), Graveman yielded singles to Jose Abreu in the second and Adam Eaton in the seventh. Both hits led off innings and both runners were erased on line drive double plays.

Facing a lineup that featured the likes of Todd Frazier, Tim Anderson, Melky Cabrera and Justin Morneau, Graveman struck out five with no walks while throwing 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes.

That was the last of Graveman’s three career complete games.

*The switch to the pen has been career-changing for Graveman. After going 23-31 with a 4.26 ERA as starter, the soon-to-be 31-year old has gone 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 10 saves in 67 relief outings.

As a reliever, Graveman has allowed just 45 hits in 70.2 innings with 70 strikeouts and 23 walks. Hitters are slashing just .184/.274/.261 against Graveman when he comes out of the pen.

*Other Graveman starter highlights: Oakland’s Opening Day starter in 2017 and 2018 … Joined Kenny Rogers (1998) and Todd Burns (1988) as the only Oakland pitchers to go unbeaten at home with five-or-more decisions

*Graveman hails from Alexander City, Ala. The only other big leaguer from the town in eastern Alabama is outfielder-first baseman Johnny Watwood, who began his six-year career with four seasons with the Sox from 1929 to 1932

*Graveman had 10 saves for the Mariners before being dealt to Houston this season. He entered with no saves as a pro or in college.

*Graveman made just two minor league appearances in the Cubs’ system in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. The Cubs signed Graveman knowing that he was on the mend but they allowed him to become a free agent on Nov. 4, 2019.

The surgery meant that Graveman once went 807 days (May 11, 2018 to July 27, 2020) between Major League appearances.

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