|Credit: Steven Mantilla/Register & Bee|
As of 6/11/2012, he's 7-1 with a 2.58 ERA and averaging 5.75 K/9 and only 1.76 BB/9. Graham is known as a power pitcher and can touch 98-100 MPH with his fastball. He compliments his fastball with an above average slider and a changeup.
Now that you know the basics with J.R. Graham, let's get to the interview questions!
Brandon Greene: Which player(s) did you look up to when you were younger?
J.R. Graham: Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, and Tim Hudson.
BG: At what point did you realize you may have a future in baseball?
J.R.: I've always had the dream of playing professional baseball, but I don't think it really hit me until my sophomore year of high school
BG: You were a two-way player early in your college career. Do you ever miss playing the field?
J.R.: I do miss it from time to time. That's the nice part of being on a national league team they let us bunt and swing it from time to time. So I get my hitting fix.
BG: Have you ever been compared to other players in MLB? If so, which stands out the most?
J.R.: I've had a few comparisons. Tim Hudson, Roy Oswalt, but the one that stands out most to me and I don't know where it came from was a young Greg Maddux.
BG: What has been the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make over the course of your young career?
J.R.: Going from a thrower to a pitcher. I used to get on the mound and just throw as hard as I could and let my stuff take over.
BG: What were your thoughts when the Braves selected you in the fourth round of the 2011 Draft?
J.R.: I was in disbelief. I hadn't talked to them much before the draft. Once I saw my name going to the Braves I was extremely happy because of the rich history they have of developing pitchers and being a first class organization.
BG: Do you read into any of the new age stats (Sabermetrics)?
J.R.: Not really. I just go out and play the game.
BG: What do you like to do in your free time?
J.R.: I like to watch movies and read on occasion. I also enjoy going out on the boat.
BG: What’s the one song on your iPod or MP3 player you can’t go without hearing?
J.R.: Too many songs to pick from. I love music. Right now my song would be Chiron by All That Remains.
BG: Do you have any hobbies outside of baseball?
J.R.: Even though I'm not good at it I like to golf.
BG: Do you ever get compared to Tim Lincecum?
J.R.: The only comparison I've had with Tim Lincecum is being an undersized pitcher.
BG: What’s more satisfying? Hitting a home run or striking out a batter?
J.R.: That's a tough one! I'd say striking out a batter.
BG: Do you have any superstitions?
J.R.: I have to sleep with my glove the night before I start.
BG: At the time of this interview, you’re 5-0 with a 2.33 ERA. What do you think has been the key to your success?
J.R.: Attacking hitters and not letting them get comfortable.
BG: How do you prepare for a start? (Mentally, physically, etc.)
J.R.: Mentally, I visualize what I want to do the night before and I visualize each pitch I throw. I do this every night before I pitch. Physically, I have a lifting and running routine I stick to. So, when the game comes I know I am physically prepared to preform.
BG: Last question, what piece of advice would you give to a young pitcher that’s hoping to be drafted someday?
J.R.: Follow your dreams.
Thanks again to J.R. Graham for the interview. He's one of the nicest players I've ever spoken to and he's off to a great start to his career.