Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking the Team’s Best Trade Chips

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Richard Rodriguez #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Jacob Stallings #58 after closing out the game 6-3 during interleague play at PNC Park on June 22, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Richard Rodriguez #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Jacob Stallings #58 after closing out the game 6-3 during interleague play at PNC Park on June 22, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – JUNE 19: Chris Stratton #46 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Cleveland Indians at PNC Park on June 19, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JUNE 19: Chris Stratton #46 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Cleveland Indians at PNC Park on June 19, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Number two – relief pitcher Chris Stratton

When people think of Pirate relievers on the trade market most will immediately think of Rodríguez and for good reason. After all, as we covered above, Rich Rod is having an excellent season for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

That said, the Pirate reliever who may carry the most trade value is righty Chris Stratton who is under team control through 2023. Like Rodríguez, Stratton can pitch in high-leverage situations, and successfully, out of any team’s bullpen.

One of the big differences between the two, however, is Stratton’s ability to pitch multiple innings if asked to do so. Additionally, Stratton also has a four-pitch mix, as opposed to Rodríguez who throws almost exclusively fastballs.

Stratton’s stuff is also better than Rodríguez as he possesses some of the best spin rates in all of baseball. Stratton also does a much better job limiting quality contact allowing a 36.2% hard-hit rate to Rich Rod’s 43.8%. His exit velocity (88.3 MPH vs 91.5 MPH) is better as well.

After pitching a scoreless inning in Saturday’s loss Stratton owns a 2.59 ERA this season. Stratton has walked 8.3% of batters faced, struck out 21.4% and has allowed just 4 home runs. Stratton has also been one of the best relievers in the NL since the start of May, posting a 0.96 ERA since May 1.

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