Despite a poor start to his season in terms of his ERA, right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton will be just fine for the Pittsburgh Pirates
So far this season Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton has done a very good job of managing the Pirate bullpen. This has included the management of late inning relievers Chris Stratton and Davis Bednar.
Stratton has been trusted with plenty of late inning high leverage situations by the Pittsburgh Pirates. While Stratton has taken some lumps this season, he has also pitched better than his results have indicated.
Stratton has a 5.23 ERA so far this season. These results have come n 10.1 innings pitched with the Pirates. Despite this high ERA, Stratton has pitched better than a lot of fans would lead you to think.
Despite his ERA Stratton has pitched well this season. Stratton has posted a 1.45 FIP to go with a 2.1% walk rate and a strikeout rate of 20.8%. Stratton has also been burnt by a batting average of balls in play (BAbip) of .432.
An average BAbip is .300. The higher a pitcher’s BAbip is over the .300 the more likely they are for progression toward improved numbers, and often times indicates a pitcher has suffered form poor luck/defense.
Stratton has also limited hard contact thus far this season. Opposing batters have a 32.4% hard hit rate off of Stratton which is 3% lower than the league average of 35.5%. Also, Stratton has limited opposing batters to a 2.7% barrel rate while the league average barrel rate allowed is 6.7%.
A big reason Stratton has yet to allow a home run is that he is keeping the ball on the ground. On the season he has generated ground balls at a 48.6% rate. This is a career high for Stratton, and, obviously, a ball that his hit on the ground can not land in the stands for a home run.
Stratton’s pitches have rated out well thus far as well, so it is not like his stuff has been poor or anything of the sort. His fastball spin rate is in the 100th percentile of baseball while his curveball spin rate is in 99th percentile. This has helped him land in the 82nd percentile of baseball in chase rate.
As long as Stratton continues to do what he has done he will be just fine. Just by watching Stratton’s outings you can see this. There have been multiple outings in which he has been burnt by weakly hit ground balls finding holes or little bloop shots falling in. There is no reason to worry about Stratton’s high ERA, at least not yet.