Former QU hurler using consistency, strikeout prowess to climb Blue Jays’ organizational ladder
QUINCY — The end result of Graham Spraker’s first appearance out of the Buffalo Bisons’ bullpen made the decision to elevate him to the Toronto Blue Jays’ Triple-A franchise look like a headsy move.
The right-hander’s final stat line from Wednesday’s 5-0 victory over the Rochester Red Wings: Two innings, two hits, no runs, three strikeouts.
That’s a solid way to announce your presence.
Spraker, the former Quincy University hurler who was a 31st round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2017, is inching closer to the big leagues with consistency and the ability to strike batters out. In 21 games with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, he went 2-1 record and a 2.81 ERA.
More importantly, he struck out 46 in 32 innings with opponents hitting just .203 against him.
Spraker is more overpowering than the last time he made a pitstop in Buffalo. He was called up in 2019 to pitch one game, making a start and allowing one run and three hits over 5.1 innings with five strikeouts and two walks.
He is the sixth player from QU to reach the Triple-A level in the last two decades.
Right-handed pitcher Brad Stone reached Triple-A in 2009 with the New Orleans Zephyrs, making seven appearances out of the bullpen. He threw 15.2 innings with a 5.17 ERA, striking out nine and walking seven.
In 2010, he was again called up by the Zephyrs. This time, he made six starts among his seven appearances, fashioning a 3-1 record with a 4.29 ERA. He struck out 16 and walked 14 over 35.2 innings.
Kevin Reynolds reached the Triple-A level twice in his career. The outfielder was elevated to the Tacoma Rainiers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, for two games in the 2006 season with two hits in six at-bats. In 2007, he played eight games with Tacoma and picked up five hits in 19 at-bats.
Josh Kinney made his first Triple-A appearance in 2005, pitching in 26 games out of the bullpen for the Memphis Redbirds. In 2006, he pitched in 51 games at Memphis before getting called to join the St. Louis Cardinals roster, where he
Kinney pitched in Triple-A each of his final six seasons — 2009 and’10 with Memphis, 2011 with the Charlotte Knights, 2012 and ’13 with the Tacoma Rainiers and 2014 with the Indianapolis Indians. He pitched in 324 career games at the Triple-A level.
Josh Rabe reached Triple-A in 2003 with the Rochester Red Wings, playing 38 games there that season. He played 90 or more games with the Red Wings each of the next three seasons before finally receiving the call to join the Minnesota Twins in 2006.
Rabe played five games with Rochester and 14 with Minnesota in 2007. He retired in 2008 after playing 348 career games at the Triple-A level.
First baseman David Jacob played one game with the Buffalo Bisons in 2017, going hitless in four at-bats.
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