While a lot of trade rumors about Pittsburgh Pirates relievers revolve around Richard Rodriguez, do not overlook Chris Stratton’s trade value
This off-season could be a buys one for the Pittsburgh Pirates on the trade market. Adam Frazier, Joe Musgrove, Richard Rodriguez, and potentially Josh Bell could all be shopped by the team this off-season. Another player that should not be overlooked in any potential trade talks is reliever Chris Stratton.
2020 was a career year for Stratton. In 30 innings pitched he posted a 3.90 ERA, 3.19 FIP and a DRA of 3.42. He walked 9.9% of batters faced, struck out 29.8% of batters faced and he allowed home runs at a 0.90 HR/9. His FIP, DRA, strikeout rate, and home run rate were all career bests.
As Noah covered on the site a few weeks ago, Stratton’s strong season was driven by spin rates. His fastball spin rate was in the 98th percentile in baseball and his curveball spin rate was in the 97th percentile. These were two major driving factors behind his whiff rate being in the 90th percentile in baseball.
Ever since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates last May, Stratton has pitched well out of the bullpen. He has logged 76.2 innings as a Pirate. In these 76.2 innings of worked he has logged a 3.76 ERA, 3.75 FIP, an 8.5% walk rate, and a 26.0% strikeout rate.
In addition to pitching well, Stratton can pitch in multiple roles out of the bullpen. This would add to his trade value as well. By the end of the 2020 season Stratton was one of Derek Shelton’s go to relievers in late inning high leverage situations. However, with his background as a starting pitcher he can also pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen. This is something Stratton did one more than one occassion in 2020.
Another factor adding to Stratton’s trade value is his contract. The former first-round pick of the San Francisco Gaints remains under team contract through the 2023 season. A reliever that pitches to the level Stratton has the last two seasons with three years of control can net a large return on the trade market.
A strong argument can be made that Stratton has the highest trade value of any Pirate reliever. Honestly, outside of Musgrove and Bell, Stratton, due to his contract and performance, may have the most trade value of any player on the Pirate roster. It would not be a surprise at all to see Ben Cherington shop Stratton this off-season. Even if he is not traded this off-season, look for trade rumors to swirl around Stratton next summer if he is continuing to pitch wel.