Kendall Graveman: A Game Changer And Fantasy Pitching Bargain

February 29, 2016; Mesa, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Kendall Graveman (49) poses for a picture during photo day at Hohokam Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
February 29, 2016; Mesa, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Kendall Graveman (49) poses for a picture during photo day at Hohokam Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Kendall Graveman is a relatively unknown gem who is not just a fantasy sleeper , but a game changer for the Oakland A’s.

Kendall Graveman, for many people, isn’t yet a household name. But that’s something that may soon be changing as his early efforts this season have been nothing short of remarkable.

In 2017, it seems like every starting pitcher and their mother are effortlessly hurling baseballs 95 miles per hour. A feat which ten years ago, would have earned you the label, freak.

Velocity, these days, is still at a premium. Which is why this (very lacking of certification) eyeball scout sees Kendall Graveman as not only a fantasy sleeper, but a game changer for the Oakland A’s.

For starters, the first obvious adjustment from Kendall Graveman as of late is the primary reliance on his sinker.

Pitch Usage:


Thanks to the wonderful baseball website,,  we are able to collect a lot of useful and interesting information. And taking a closer look at Graveman’s career trends in regard to pitch usage, velocity, and whiff percentage, reveals a few interesting insights.



Naturally, the first aspect that stands out is the dropoff in velocity after 2014. It is pivotal to note that in 2014, Graveman pitched a total of 4 innings. These four innings were simply a call-up from the Blue Jays, and were all in relief. (Hence the matching cutter and sinker velocity with 2017)

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This is significant because, it means Kendall Graveman in 2017, is throwing harder as a starter, (on average) than he did as a reliever (in 2014). Now let’s take a look at Max Velocity, not average.



In this table, there is not exactly a drop off after 2014, like the one seen in the table that covered average. Although, what is more interesting anyhow is an almost three MPH uptick in sinker velocity from 2014-2017.

Of course, velocity is not everything; simply throwing more sinkers and harder sinkers won’t turn Kendall from questionable back-end arm to and undisputed front-end ace. However, going back to the charts from Brooksbaseball and taking a look at Graveman’s whiff rate shows a few interesting trends. (Whiff rate is the number of pitches swung at and missed by the total number of swings.) 



Graveman in 2017, is relying less on his change and curve and is throwing more sinkers. Subsequently, in the small sample size of two starts, Kendall is generating more consistent swings and misses.

For a heavy-sinkerball pitcher like Graveman, being able to generate groundballs is everything. Adding his phenomenal ability to induce groundballs together with missing more bats, easily explains Graveman’s phenomenal 2017 stats (thus far).


   IP: 13

   H: 8

   ER: 3

   BB: 3

   K: 12

Although, as any fantasy guru will tell you, stats can mislead and in the end, all that matters are results. Yet, despite a small sample-size in 2017, Kendall has not disappointed. Furthermore, for a guy who before, averaged five to six strikeouts per nine innings, striking out a batter per inning is a dramatic increase.

Prior to 2017, Graveman was known for his Maddux-esque command and darting sinker. Contemporarily, Graveman hasn’t necessarily ditched this reputation, he has just built upon it.

Finally, there is no better proof than pure results.

Whether this evolution ends up being one of those age old cases of “small sample size” or early season fluke, it is indisputable that Kendall has had a spike in the velocity of his pitches. So for all you fantasy baseball nuts out there looking for the next “sleeper” or “hidden gem,” look no further than the Oakland A’s Kendall Graveman.