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Graham Spraker Preparing for a Bigger Role

Righty is transitioning into a starter for 2018

Graham Spraker Preparing for a Bigger Role

October 4, 2017

Graham Spraker is working towards a starting role in 2018. (Jeff Smith)

Graham Spraker is working towards a starting role in 2018. (Jeff Smith)

 

Right-handed pitcher Graham Spraker excelled out of relief in his first professional season with the Bluefield Blue Jays.

Spraker maintained an impressive 0.78 WHIP, and held opposing hitters to just an .168 mark against him in 2017.

His success on the mound comes from his ability to make hitters swing and miss at his sinker and slider combo.

“Right now I throw a sinker and a slider,” stated Spraker. “As a reliever I only needed two pitches to have success. My sinker is my strikeout pitch. It usually sits in the 93 to 95 mile per hour range. I also use the sinker to get ahead early in counts, and I mix my slider in when I can.”

But the Blue Jays have bigger plans for Spraker, as they envision him as a starter with one of their affiliates next season.

With this in mind, the organization assigned Spraker to their Instructional League camp in Florida to help him prepare to stretch out in games.

“I’m working on a changeup in instructs,” explained Spraker. “I feel developing that third pitch is very important to helping me stretch out in games. I’m going to see hitters two or three different times a night, so having that changeup will definitely help me.”

This transition should go smoothly for Spraker, as he spent the majority of his collegiate career at Quincy University in the rotation.

In fact, Spraker had few issues adjusting the other way. The righty was drafted as a starter, and was asked by the organization to work later in games.

“My transition from college baseball to pro ball has gone smoothly so far,” said Spraker. “The biggest adjustment from starting to relieving is the amount of time you have to recover between outings. It was definitely a change for me to pitch on limited rest, but I enjoyed my role last season.”

Obviously, adding another pitch and preparing for a bigger role will make Spraker’s off-season hectic. But he loves the challenge, as he looks forward to doing bigger things next year.

“I want to be on Lansing’s opening day roster next April,” stated Spraker. “I’m really looking forward to experiencing a full season of professional baseball, while getting better all-around.”

Blue Jays fans will be watching Graham Spraker next season and for years to come as he continues to develop his game in their system.