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.

WHITE SOX 2021 PLAYER REVIEW: GARRETT CROCHET

My alphabetical review — @SoxNerd style — of the 2021 White Sox forges on with a look at pitcher GARRETT CROCHET:

*Only six other Sox rookies — Reb Russell (1.90 in 1913), Terry Forster (2.25 in 1972), Shingo Takatsu (2.31 in 2004), Nate Jones (2.39 in 2012), Bobby Thigpen (2.73 in 1987) and Chris Sale (2.79 in 2011) — had a lower ERA than Crochet’s 2.82 in 2021 (minimum 50 appearances).

*Crochet’s average of 10.77 strikeouts per nine innings in 2021 was the fourth-highest output by a Sox rookie (minimum 30 outings) … The only pitcher with a higher K/9IP average and more appearances was Jace Fry in 2018 (12.27 in 59 games).

*His average of 0.33 homers allowed per nine innings in 2021 was the seventh-lowest in Sox history by a rookie (minimum 30 games) behind Vic Frasier (0.38 in 1931), Jake Petricka (0.37 in 2014), Chico Escarrega (0.37 in 1982), Roy Wilkinson (0.37 in 1920), Jack Harshman (0.36 in 1954) and Sergio Santos (0.35 in 2010).

*Crochet limited opposing cleanup hitters to a .095 average in 2021. That is the 10th-lowest output in Sox history (at least 20 at bats). The record holder? Dallas Keuchel who limited fourth-place hitters to a .036 average in 2020.

*In my last entry, I highlighted how well MIchael Kopech pitched when Zack Collins was behind the plate.

Today it’s Crochet and Seby Zavala.

Crochet was unscored upon in 11 games covering 11.1 innings while throwing to Zavala in 2021. Hitters slashed just .111/.200/.111 against the Crochet-Zavala combo with no extra-base hits and 13 strikeouts.

Next: Adam Eaton

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: ZACK COLLINS (KOPECH’S CATCHER!)

My alphabetical review — @SoxNerd style — of the 2021 White Sox rolls on with a look at catcher ZACK COLLINS;

Steve Carlton had Tim McCarver.

Mark Fidrych had Bruce Kimm.

Lucas Giolito had James McCann.

The stats say Michael Kopech needs Zack Collins as his personal catcher.

The biggest positive takeaway from Collins’ 2021, where he struggled at the plate, was how he caught Kopech.

In 13 games covering 24.2 innings Kopech recorded a 1.82 ERA while teaming with Collins. Batters hit just .163 with a .201 on-base percentage and .233 slugging percentage with Kopech tossing to Collins. In addition, Kopech had a 7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio with Collins behind the plate.

Kopech was most effective in tandem with Collins and it really wasn’t close.

With Grandal at catcher, Kopech had a 3.03 ERA while hitters slashed .235/.299/.391 in 19 games covering 29.2 innings (4.2:1 K-to-BB ratio). With Seby Zavala behind the plate, Kopech posted a 7.20 ERA in 13 games (15 innings) with an opponent’s slashline of .232/.328/.464.

Some other Collins nuggets:

*Ryan Tepera logged a 0.00 ERA in five outings covering 4.1 innings covering five outings this season with Collins behind the plate. Hitters slashed .133/.188/.133 while Tepera was throwing to Collins.

*Collins top moment of 2021 was his catching of Carlos Rodon’s no-hitter of the Cleveland Indians on April 14th at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Collins joined A.J. Pierzynski (who caught Mark Buehrle’s first no-hitter and Philip Humber’s perfect game) as the only left-handed hitters to catch a Sox no-hitter.

*Ron Karkovice (Joe Cowley and Wilson Alvarez) are the only Sox No. 1 picks to catch a no-hitter for the club.

*NEXT: Garrett Crochet

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: RYAN BURR (MR. JUNE)

My alphabetical review — @soxnerd style — of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at pitcher RYAN BURR.

It may be hard to believe but by some statistical standards Ryan Burr had the best month ever by a White Sox pitcher in June of 2021.

The right-hander gave up just one hit in 10.2 innings covering eight scoreless outings in the month.

No Sox pitcher had ever thrown that many shutout frames while allowing just one hit in a month. The next closest to this is Bobby Jenks, who also yielded one hit but it was in 10.1 innings in August of 2007

Next: Dylan Cease

WHITE SOX 2021 PLAYER REVIEW: ZACK BURDI

My latest alphabetical review — @soxnerd style — of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at pitcher ZACK BURDI, who was waived on Aug. 18:

*What would Burdi’s career trajectory been like if he could have mastered pitching at Guaranteed Rate Field?

The Downers Grove, Ill., native departed the Sox 0-1 with a 12.96 ERA in eight outings in home assignments. In 8.1 innings, the right-hander allowed 16 hits, including a whopping six home runs. Opponents slashed .400/.442/.875 off Burdi at 35th and Shields.

On the road, Burdi was much better for the Sox. In six road appearances, Burdi logged a 3.38 ERA while allowing just one home run in eight innings. Opponents slugged just .387 when Burdi pitched as a visitor for the Sox.

*Burdi is the only pitcher from the University of Louisville to play for the White Sox.

*Next: Jake Burger