9. J.R. Graham
J.R. Graham – RHP
Acquired via 2011 Draft by the Braves in the fourth round.
2014 Stats: 5.55 ERA, 1.472 WHIP, 71.1.0 IP, 50 SO, 26 BB (AA-Mississippi)
Projected Major League ETA: 2015
Actual Major League Debut: 2015
J.R. Graham was taken by the Minnesota Twins in the Rule-5 Draft after these rankings were issued and prior to the season.
Baseball Prospectus seemed to be very high on Graham as they had him rated as a potential 3-4 starter.
Graham was a two-way star in college, mostly working as an outfielder/third baseman and the closer for the University of Santa Clara.
Despite only making five starts in college, the Braves saw his talents as a better fit for someone to open the games rather than close them.
He rung up 52 strikeouts in Danville his first year, going 5-2 and walking only 13 batters in his 57.2 innings pitched.
Graham continued his ascent through the minors, reaching Double-A in his first full season in 2012. Graham combined for a 2.80 ERA in 148 total innings. Graham showed great control, posting a 1.06 WHIP and walking only 34 hitters in that time.
He appeared to be on the fast track to the big leagues.
Prior to 2013, he had rocketed his way up Baseball America’s rankings, coming in as the number two prospect in the Braves organization, just behind Julio Teheran.
His 2014 season with the Braves was an injury-riddled mess. Plagued by shoulder issues, he posted a 5.55 ERA and was left off of the 40-man roster prior to 2015.
The Twins scooped him up in the Rule 5 Draft and traded him to the Yankees.
In all, Graham pitched in 65.1 major league innings and posted a 5.10 ERA. He played his final professional game in 2017 and is currently a 30-year-old free agent.