If I told you that there was a pitching sitting on your waiver wire who is pitching for a team in contention and has the ability to post over a strikeout per inning, I think most people would jump at the opportunity. Yet here we are and, despite having already shown success in the Major Leaues, the A’s Dan Straily remains on the majority of waiver wires:
CBS Ownership = 36%
ESPN Ownership = 5%
Granted, he did just return to the Major Leagues so we have to afford owners some time to manuever. Plus, at this late juncture in the season it is obvious many teams have been eliminated and are now paying attention to football instead of baseball. Throw in the fact that he is a rookie, meaning increased risk, and it all comes together to make some sense of his low ownership.
Whatever the full reason is, owners who are still in contention need to make their claim now.
All you really need to know (if you didn’t already), is in 152.0 minor league innings this season (split between Double and Triple-A), Straily struck out 190 batters while walking 42. If those numbers aren’t convincing enough,I don’t know what will…
In all fairness, there are reasons to be skeptical. While being a fly ball pitcher is alright in Oakland (54.2% fly ball rate in the Majors), when he takes his show on the road there is the risk of being beaten by the home run. While it is odd that he has allowed 4 home runs in 10.2 innings at home, I wouldn’t expect that to continue.
If he continues to give up so many fly balls, he is going to give up home runs, but the number of strikeouts will help to minimize their effect.
Also, he has benefited from a 97.1% strand rate in his four big league starts. Small sample size, but a number you would expect to correct itself.
Obviously there is risk, but how often do you really find a pitcher with his strikeout and win potential sitting there for nothing at the end of your season? While I wouldn’t just slot him into your lineup, depending on the matchup and team need, you certainly could do a whole lot worse.