What if I told you a pitcher would be available on the waiver wire today who has a K/9 of 11.38, a BB/9 of 2.38, an ERA of 1.36 and a WHIP of 0.77? Yes, today is waiver wire Christmas for some team lucky team in your league. Dan Straily has been activated from Triple-A by the Athletics and will have a chance to compete for what seems to be becoming a very crowded starting rotation.
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First off, lets get negatives out of the way. Straily has to be lights out when he comes up. Brett Anderson (remember him?) could be back as early as next week, along with Dallas Braden, which means Straily could be back down to the minors right after his Friday start. I believe the Athletics would not have called him up just for one start, but if Straily struggles, it would make their rotation decision fairly easy.
Straily’s BB/9 is reasonable, however his BB% of 7.2% is the highest since 2010. His BABIP of .216 and his LOB% of 89.7% also raise doubts about how successful Straily will initially be in the MLB. Along with his low pedigree (drafted in the 24th round in 2009) makes me wonder whether or not this guy is legit or just the flavor of the week.
Even with the usual waning signs, I think he is definitely worth the risk. In 5×5 category leagues, he is worth adding based on his strikeout potential alone (leads the minors in strikeouts). Luckily, he is pitching in the spacious Coliseum, which can cover up some pitching mistakes Straily is bound to make. I also like pitchers who rise to the challenge and Straily is that type of pitcher. With every promotion, he seems to get better and better. And unlike Trevor Bauer, the Athletics have not rushed Straily. Instead, they have let him advance at his own pace. I shouldn’t have to say it but Keeper and Dynasty leagues should be all over this guy.
At the beginning of the year, Straily was just an after thought in most people’s mind. Now? He could be one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. Billy Beane was quoted as saying that Straily reminded him of a young Tim Hudson. Beane’s praise is good enough for me to pick this guy up for a championship run.