The Pittsburgh Pirates made a trade to bolster their pitching staff on Saturday afternoon
36 games into the 2019 season the Pittsburgh Pirates own a 19-17 record. This is despite the team, especially its pitching staff, being decimated by injuries. Now, the Pirates have made a trade to bolster their pitching staff.
On Saturday afternoon, the Pirates acquired right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton from the LA Angels of Anaheim. In exchange for Stratton the Pirates have sent cash considerations to the Angels. This trade comes after Stratton was designated for assignment on May 7th.
During his MLB career, Stratton has pitched both in a starting and in a relief role. He started the 2019 season in the Angels rotation, but after posting a 7.04 ERA and a 5.73 FIP he was moved to the bullpen after five starts.
In two relief outings this season Stratton has allowed 10 runs, two home runs, and he’s walked four in 6 2/3 innings pitched. Overall this season, he’s allowed 28 earned runs in 29 1/3 innings pitched.
In his career Stratton owns a 4.54 ERA and a 4.44 FIP in 41 starts. In 14 career relief outings, Stratton owns a 9.67 ERA and a 5.64 FIP. His strikeout rate (18.1% v. 16.0%) and walk rate (9.6% v. 11.5%) are both better as a reliever as well. So, Stratton is one of the rare pitchers that performs better as a starter than he does in relief.
2019 was Stratton’s first season with the Angels. He had spent the previous three seasons pitching for the San Francisco Giants. With the Giants, he owned a 4.63 ERA and a 4.36 FIP in 213 2/3 innings pitched. He pitched in 48 games with the Giants, with 36 of them being starts.
Stratton has always had the stuff to be a quality MLB pitcher, but has never been able to find the consistency. His curveball has an above average spin rate, as does his slider. Both of these traits are something the Pirates value.
It remains to be seen what role Stratton will play for the Pirates. He could pitch in relief or as a starting pitcher. However, with Jameson Taillon set to miss at least a month it’s reasonable to assume he will join the starting rotation. This would also improve the bullpen as Stratton, and Chris Archer who should return this week, joining the rotation will bump Steven Brault and Nick Kingham back to the bullpen.
Ray Searage and the Pirates have a long, decorated track record ‘fixing’ pitchers like Stratton. This includes another former Giants top prospect in Kyle Crick. Hopefully, Stratton will be the latest pitcher to join Uncle Ray’s ‘fixed’ list.