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Dan Straily and the Continued Progress of a Pop-Up Prospect

It’s hard for me to think of a prospect that more exemplifies the term “pop-up guy” than Oakland A’s rookie SP Dan Straily. After being drafted in the 24th round (723th overall), Straily steadily worked his way through the minors without attracting much attention.

You’ll often see a pitcher drafted out of college who had been old for his level most of their professional career exposed when they reach AA. Dan Straily, however, logged 14 solid starts for Midland in the Texas League, posting a 2.57 FIP and striking out 31.1% of the batters he faced before earning a call up to AAA Sacramento.

The Pacific Coast League is notoriously unkind to pitchers, but Straily became even more dominant, lowering his FIP to 2.23 and continuing to strike out over 30% of batters. In just 25 starts, a 24th round pick became one of the most talked about prospects in baseball and earned a call up for seven starts in Oakland.

There isn’t really anything jaw-dropping about Dan Straily’s stuff. He has good command of his fastball, which usually sits in the lower 90s with a decent amount of late arm-side run. The overhand angle at which Straily throws can occasionally cause his fastball to become flat, however, and even the weakest hitting major leaguer can take advantage of that flaw.

Straily’s other offerings include a plus slider with tight spin and late break that should continue to miss bats at the major league level and an average to plus changeup with sink and fade.

The unfortunate thing for Dan Straily (and his fantasy owners) is that he is in the awkward position of being clearly too good for AAA, but has failed to impress Oakland’s front office enough to avoid being shuttled between AAA and the majors. He’s performed well enough in his MLB opportunities this season, compiling a 4.28 ERA (3.67 FIP) in 14 starts. The K% has regressed considerably to 20.1% and he’s benefited from pitching in the pitcher-friendly O.co Coliseum.

I see Dan Straily ending up as a number 4 type starter who could play up to a possible number 3 in a pitcher friendly setting. That’s a valuable asset to any MLB team and certainly a valuable asset to a dynasty league manager, especially in a deeper league.

All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. 

Ryan Potter also contributes to Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter @80GradeWant

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  1. Matt P
    July 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Just traded Straily and Leonys Martin for Pedro Alvarez, did I give up too much? I’ve got Arenado as my long term answer at 3B but he’s been sucking pretty bad lately. I’ve got Hultzen in minors to replace Straily this year or next…

  2. July 31, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Sorry that I’m just getting back to you on this. I’m fine with that deal if you can handle the poor average from Alvarez. Arenado is probably more of a 2014-2015 breakout guy, which is fine. If you’re going for it this year, Alvarez can help you a lot, and then you can still probably turn him around for some prospects during the offseason if you’re confident in Arenado going forward (I am).

  3. J.I.
    August 4, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Awful, awful, awful deal. NEVER give up greater assets when BOTH are better than the short term boost that you are getting. NEVER EVER EVER do that. Pedro Alvarez is not a premium rental. Leonys Martin is gonna have a very fine career and is one of those energy guys that people get excited about and will overpay for. Pitching is a premium in leagues and Dan Straily is a nice, young asset who could’ve netted you Alvarez+ alone. I don’t know the rest of your team, but if you’re making trades like this, I don’t have too much confidence in it being a Championship caliber club. Sorry if I sound harsh, but there’s no way you should’ve made that trade at all.

  4. Tony
    August 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Straily has been getting hammered a bit lately and got placed on waivers in my fantasy league. Is he worth a pickup in a 14-team dynasty league?

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