PP Scouting Report: LHP Alex Graman

LHP, Alex Graman

Many fans have been checking out the pitching matchups for the upcoming series with the Chicago White Sox and come away looking confused. A certain Alex Graman is slated to pitch on Tuesday, and I bet most people are wondering just who he is. Well, PinstripesPlus is here to help, with our scouting report on LHP Alex Graman.

Vital Statistics:
Name:
  Alex Graman
Position: 
Left-handed Pitcher
DOB: 
November 17, 1977
Height: 
6'4"
Weight: 
200lbs
Bats: 
Left
Throws: 
Left
College: Indiana State University
How Acquired: 
Drafted in the third round of the 1999 amateur draft (111th overall pick).

The Yankees drafted Graman out of college in the 1999 draft.  He quickly became recognized as one of the better pitching prospects in the system, particularly because he is left-handed.  His debut season in the organization was a success, as he went 6-3 with a 2.99 ERA at Staten Island, striking out 85 batters in only 81.1 innings.  He moved at a steady pace through the organization before landing in Columbus late in the 2002 season, where his career seemed to have stalled.

Graman's name has come up in trade talks before, showing that other teams were interested in the lefty's potential.  In 2001, he was thought to be part of the deal that would have brought Sammy Sosa to the Yankees from the Cubs.  In 2003, he was almost traded to the Rangers for Ugueth Urbina before the Yanks changed their minds and dealt Jason Anderson to the Mets for Armando Benitez.  

During Spring Training this season, Graman continued to work on a changeup that would bring his game to the next level.  He had hit a rut in Columbus, putting up decent, but not good, numbers for two straight seasons.  But during that time he had been working on improving his command and perfecting a changeup to compliment his other pitches.  Graman posted just a 7.36 ERA in 11 Spring innings in 2004, but he is off to a blazing hot start in Columbus so far this season.  

In two starts, Graman has a 0.90 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 10 innings.  He hasn't posted those kinds of K numbers since his first season with Staten Island five years ago.  At 27 years old, he's past his prime as a prospect, but if his new pitch is really good enough to bring him to the next level, he could turn into a serviceable major leaguer.  We'll find out on Tuesday when he makes his first big-league start.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2004

Columbus Clippers*

0-2

10

5

6

14

0.90

2003

Columbus Clippers

9-10

142.2

135

63

110

4.48

2002

Columbus Clippers

6-9

124

141

37

98

4.65

2002 Norwich Navigators 5-2 50 46 13 31 2.88
2001 Norwich Navigators 12-9 166.1 174 60 138 3.52
2000 Tampa Yankees** 8-9 148.1 126 62 114 3.94
1999 Staten Island Yankees 6-3 81.1 74 16 85 2.99

*Stats as of 4/19/2004
**Stats include one start with the
Norwich Navigators

Repertoire:  Fastball, Slider, Splitter, Changeup

Fastball:  Regularly hovers around 90 mph on the radar gun, but can reach speeds up to 94 mph when necessary.  Graman sometimes has trouble locating the pitch, leading to less-than-stellar walk totals, something that must be improved if he is to have a chance of success past the AAA level.

Other Pitches:  His slider has good speed for a lefty, hanging in around the mid-to-low 80's with good movement.  The changeup is what is going to make or break his career.  He needs it to take the next step.  Recently, he told Baseball America: "Sometimes it's been very good and others it just sort of hangs there, but I have a lot more confidence in it that I had in the past."

Pitching:  Graman isn't a power pitcher, but he walks too many to be considered a true finesse pitcher.  He won't overpower batters, but he's good at getting them out.  Needs to work on limiting walk totals.

Projection:  Fifth starter/Long reliever.  Graman has always been a starter in the minors, and can eat innings.  It's too late in his career to be projected as anything better than a back-of-the-rotation starter however.

ETA:  Right now, possibly 2005.  Graman gets his first taste of MLB action on Tuesday against the White Sox.  Don't expect him to stick around all season with the Yankees, however.  If he does well in this audition, look for him to be traded midseason, otherwise look for him in September when the rosters expand.

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