Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Examining Newcomers to FanGraphs List

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Pittsburgh Pirates
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RHP Reliever Hunter Stratton

It’s not often you see relief pitchers appearing on top prospect lists. Granted, while Hunter Stratton only ranks no. 58, it’s still a noteworthy placement to see a late-blooming relief pitcher even make the top 60.

2021 was the first year Stratton pitched solely out of the bullpen. All 49 innings came as a reliever, and he pitched to the tune of a 2.39 ERA, 3.03 FIP, and 1.27 WHIP. Stratton was a strikeout machine, getting over a third of batters to go down on strike-three (34.1% to be exact). He was also phenomenal at limiting home runs. He gave up just 3 for a 0.55 HR/9 rate.

Though it wasn’t all sunshine-and-rainbows for the right-hander. Stratton allowed 12.2% of batters to reach via free pass. Despite having such a great home run rate, he had a fly ball rate of 48.1% and ground ball rate of just 31.5%. xFIP, which takes HR/FB ratio into account, pinned him at 4.03.

Stratton’s four-seam fastball, cutter, and slider are all quality offerings. They’re above-average pitches. However, he has poor command. While he is a late bloomer, most relief prospects are. Another trait late-blooming relief prospects have is so-so command.