Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have selected right-handed pitcher J.R. Graham from the Atlanta Braves organization in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft.
Graham spent 2014 with Double-A Mississippi, where he went 1-5, 5.55 ERA (71.1 IP, 44 ER) with 26 walks and 50 strikeouts in 27 games (19 starts) and was named Southern League midseason All-Star. In four seasons in the Braves system, he went 19-12, 3.37 ERA (312.2 IP, 117 ER) with 83 walks and 240 strikeouts in 74 games (61 starts).
The 24-year-old was originally selected out of Livermore (Calif.) High School by Oakland in the 46th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft but elected to attend Santa Clara University and was drafted by Atlanta in the 4th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. In 2013, he was ranked 93rd best prospect in baseball and third best in Atlanta's system by Baseball America and 63rd best prospect by BaseballProspectus.com.
Graham marks the first player taken by the Twins in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft since the Twins selected right-handed pitcher Ryan Pressly in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft. Below are the Twins Rule 5 picks dating back to 2005:
2014 J.R. Graham, RHP
2012 Ryan Pressly, RHP
2011 Terry Doyle, RHP
2010 Scott Diamond, LHP
2008 Jason Jones, RHP
2006 Alejandro Machado, IF
2005 Jason Pridie, OF
The Twins now have 40 players on their 40-man roster.