CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. | Kendall Graveman was watching film on Virginia’s hitters, immersed in his preparation for tomorrow’s super regional opener against No. 6 Virginia. Then the call came: He was picked in the eighth round of the MLB Draft by Toronto.
Just a year ago, the senior right-handed pitcher was taken in the 36th round by Miami. Graveman came back to school in large part because he wanted to help MSU get to a College World Series, which is just two wins away. But improving his stock was also a motivation, and he’s certainly had a solid season, with a 6-5 record and 2.94 ERA.
“I had talked with some people last year, and that was the best scenario for me,” he said. “That was another reason. It was pretty cool. The Blue Jays, they showed a lot of interest in me last year, and they were real close to drafting me at one point last year. So this year, they kind of stayed on me.”
One round later, teammate Chad Girodo was drafted … by the Blue Jays. Graveman and Girodo weren’t together when that happened, but they talked about it later on.
“Hopefully we can take the journey together and at least be part of the same organization,” Graveman said. “That was pretty neat to see his name come up. Of course, Jacob Robson and (Kyle) Hann, they were excited just because it was the Blue Jays.”
Robson and Hann both hail from Ontario. Graveman ran into them at the mall tonight, and they were telling him about all the people they knew in the Toronto organization.
Somehow, Graveman must put all this excitement aside, because he’s starting on the mound for MSU tomorrow. It’s the biggest start of his career to date. The Blue Jays area scout he spoke with told him to focus on helping MSU, and that they’d talk later.
“That means a lot to me that they care enough that they know that I’m still playing and to talk later and figure out everything later is what they want for me,” Graveman said.
He tried to distract himself tonight by going to see a movie, “The Purge.” He didn’t like it, and soon his mind wandered back to baseball. Graveman has been trying hard to keep his focus on Virginia and not on his professional future.
“I almost turned my phone off, just put it on silent, because it kept vibrating,” he said. “I was trying to focus on their hitters. For me, the task at hand and what I’ve worked for for four years now is right in front of me. That’s over with. I’ll take that step in my life when the time comes, but for now my goal is to put everything I have into this ball club and all I’ve worked for for Mississippi State.”