Grant Gavin is a 21-year old RHP from KC, MO, and is now making a name for himself in the Kansas City Royals minor league system.
Most Royals fans probably don’t keep up with the MLB Draft, much less what the Royals are doing in the 29th round, but Grant Gavin is giving fans a reason to pay attention.
Gavin played college baseball for three years at local powerhouse Central Missouri, after attending St. Pius X High School in Kansas City. Mostly used as a reliever, the righty made a name for himself when began mowing down hitters with his mid-90’s fastball and absolute hammer of a curveball.
Gavin was a key cog in a bullpen that lead the Central Missouri Mules to an NCAA DII World Series appearance in Cary, North Carolina, in 2016. Gavin carried a 2.64 ERA that year for UCM, striking out 35 in 30.2 IP.
After a dominating performance in the NCAA Tournament in 2016, Gavin was selected in the 29th round by his hometown Kansas City Royals. I asked him how he felt that day, and Gavin said that, “It’s a special feeling knowing I represent the organization I have supported my entire life.”
Gavin didn’t slow down when he finally got his opportunity.
After signing his first professional contract, Gavin was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League where he continued to dominate hitters, carrying a 2.01 ERA, with an absolutely ridiculous 47:5 K:BB ratio in 49.1 IP for the AZ Royals. He was named the Royals’ Rookie League Pitcher of the Year, and was acknowledged for his accomplishments at Kauffman Stadium after his season ended.
“Future’s Night at Kauffman Stadium is a night I will remember for life. It was a surreal experience being able to go onto the field where I’ve watched hundreds of games, receive the award, and share the event with many friends and family.”
Talk about the experience of a lifetime. Most kids grow up dreaming about doing something like what Gavin experienced last summer.
Don’t be surprised if you see Gavin at Kauffman Stadium again soon. Somehow, Grant found a way to get better in 2017. Through 32.2 IP, Gavin is carrying a 1.38 ERA and has only allowed runs in 2 of 19 appearances. To add to his dominance, Gavin has already almost matched his strikeout total from 2016 as he struck out 43 before the All-Star Break.
Speak of the devil, Gavin was named an All-Star for the second time in two years and represented the Lexington Legends in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game Tuesday night in Columbia, South Carolina.
I asked Grant if he dreams of the day when he’ll put on a uniform for the Kansas City Royals, and he answered even more humbly than I would’ve imagined.
“I think about it occasionally, not too often because I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I know I have a lot of work to do and levels to go up to put myself in a position where I could pitch in a major league game.”
I met Grant back in 2013 at a meeting for our American Legion team. Grant has always carried himself with the type of confidence that you want to see in a guy, but with all the humility in the world. We shared a ton of miserable mornings together at UCM but it wasn’t too often you’d hear him complain. You could tell that he always understood what was important, the work that it took to be the best, and now that work is paying dividends for him.
You won’t find Grant on many prospect lists, MLB.com doesn’t have him in the Royals’ Top 30, but there isn’t anyone in the minors who is going to outwork him. Don’t be surprised when his success and hard work lands him a spot on the Royals 25-man roster in the next few years.