Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Breakout Bullpen Arms

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 05: Geoff Hartlieb #32 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Minnesota Twins at PNC Park on August 5, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 05: Geoff Hartlieb #32 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Minnesota Twins at PNC Park on August 5, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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CLEVELAND, OHIO – JULY 20: Relief pitcher Chris Stratton #46 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 20, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO – JULY 20: Relief pitcher Chris Stratton #46 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 20, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Chris Stratton

A first-round pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 MLB Draft, righty Chris Stratton appears to finally have found his groove. In 15 innings of work this season, Stratton has become arguably the most reliable reliever out of the Pirate bullpen.

Stratton owns a 4.20 ERA, but that does not tell the story of how well he has pitched. As can often times be the case with relievers, Stratton had one bad outing that caused his ERA to spike and it will take a few outings to bring it back down.

Despite the 4.20 ERA, Stratton owns a 8.1% walk rate and he has struck out 29.0% of batters faced. In his 15 innings of work, he’s allowed just 12 hits and just one of those hits was a home run.

Opposing batters own an average exit velocity of just 86.8 MPH off of Stratton, which is nearly 2 MPH less than MLB average. A big reason for this is due to the ridiculous amount of spin on his pitches making them difficult to barrel up and hit hard. His fastball spin rate this season is 2609, his slider is 2908 and the curveball has been a whopping 3044.

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Stratton is under team control through the 2024 season. So, like Turley and Hartlieb, Stratton appears to be solidifying himself as a key member of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen in 2020 and beyond.

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