Kevin Goldstein said Monday in his Monday Morning Ten Pack on Baseball Prospectus, “Straily attacks the strike zone with three plus pitches: a 90-93 mph fastball that can touch 95, and a slider and changeup combination that can keep both left-handed and right-handed hitters off balance. It might sound weird, but the A’s are in a playoff race and Straily could get a shot at helping their cause this year.” Let’s take a look at what Straily offers:
- 23 years old
- Right handed starting pitcher
- Listed at 6’2”, 220 lbs.
- Had a 3.38 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 108 K in 85.1 IP at AA before being promoted on June 21
- Currently has a 1.09 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 46 K in 33 IP at AAA in the PCL league, which is known as a major hitters league
- Leading all of the minors in K with 154, 27 more than the next closest, and only 34 BB
- Was drafted in the 24th round in 2009 out of Marshall University, where he posted a 4.28 ERA and 115 K/66 BB in 154 IP between 2008 and 2009
- Was throwing in the upper 80s in college, but with mechanical refinements and better conditioning boosted his velocity
- Posted solid numbers in A+ in 2011, but nothing like what he’s done so far in 2012, with a 3.87 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 154 K in 160.2 IP (the same number as he has in 2012 in 42.1 more IP).
- John Sickels graded Straily out as C+ before this season, and he wasn’t on Baseball America’s Top 10 A’s prospects, Baseball Prospectus’s Top 20 A’s prospects or MLB.com’s Top 20 A’s prospects
- His stuff has improved big time this season, going from, as John Sickels said before the season, “He has a low-90s fastball (some reports have him in the mid-90s), a solid curve, and a changeup. While none of his offerings are truly outstanding, he throws strikes and was consistently effective in the California League last year. This doesn’t guarantee success at higher levels, of course,” to what Goldstein said in the quote in the intro.
- On twitter Goldstein continued his praise for Straily when he answered a question Monday night asking if Straily was a potential #3 with “Yes, maybe even a bit more.” That may not sound like a lot, but if you follow Goldstein, him projecting someone as even better than a #3 starter is very high praise.
Straily may have seemingly come out of nowhere, but he has developed his stuff greatly to the point where he went from being considered as a near non-prospect to a mid-rotation starter or possibly even better with, depending on who you follow, two or even three plus pitches. He’s showing great strikeout stuff, even in a league that greatly benefits hitters: No team in the PCL has a combined ERA below 4 and eight of the 16 teams have an ERA above 4.90.
The A’s haven’t been afraid to advance Straily quickly, moving him up to AAA from A in just a season and a half. With them only 0.5 game out of the wild card spot in the AL, Oakland has incentive to promote him to the big leagues. However, Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson are both expected to be back in mid-August or early September.
Still, Straily could be worth a stash in deep leagues as he would be pitching in the pitchers park that Oakland calls home. Due to the risk involved in all pitchers acclimating to the majors as well as the pure risk involved with the chance that he gets the call-up, he’s not for everyone.