CHRIS STRATTON, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: August 22, 1990
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 211
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 1st Round, 20th overall pick, 2012 (Giants)
How Acquired: Trade (from Angels)
College: Mississippi State University
Agent: Bo McKinnis

WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE

San Francisco drafted Stratton 20th overall in 2012 with the idea, based on a big junior year, that he could develop into at least a mid-rotation starter.  His stuff never really developed, though, and he ended up looking like a fifth starter at best.  He throws the standard four pitches.  His fastball has averaged 91-92 as a starter and, although he throws a slider, curve and change, he hasn’t established a real out pitch.  He’s not a groundball pitcher and struggles against left-handed batters, allowing them an OPS of .847.  Right-handed batters have had a .763 mark.  The Pirates acquired Stratton from the Angels for cash.

2012
A-:  0-1-0, 2.76 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 5.5 BB/9, 8.8 K/9

Stratton had a strong debut, apart from some control problems.  His season was cut short, though, when he was hit in the head by a line drive in mid-August.  Baseball America rated him the Giants’ third-best prospect after the season.

2013
A:  9-3-0, 3.27 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 132.0 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 8.4 K/9

The Giants sent Stratton to low A, which wasn’t a very high level for a first-round draft pick.  He pitched well there, but didn’t dominate the way you’d want to see.  BA still rated him 3rd in the Giants’ system.

2014
A+:  7-8-0, 5.07 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 99.1 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 9.2 K/9
AA:  1-1-0, 3.52 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 23.0 IP, 4.7 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Stratton spent most of the season in the offense-happy California League.  Considering the realities of pitching there, his performance wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t especially good for a first-round pick in his second full season.  BA dropped his ranking to 12th in the system.

2015
AA:  1-5-0, 4.14 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 50.0 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 7.0 K/9
AAA:  4-5-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 98.0 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 6.6 K/9

Stratton spent the first two months of the season in AA.  He pitched decently, with opponents batting just .215 against him, but his walk and K rates weren’t good.  After moving up to the Pacific Coast League, he pitched a little better in a tougher environment, but again with unimpressive walk and K rates.  BA dropped him to 26th in the system after the season, and the Giants added him to the 40-man roster.

2016
AAA:  12-6-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 125.2 IP, 2.8 BB/9, 7.4 K/9
MLB:  1-0-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 10.0 IP, 4.5 BB/9, 5.4 K/9

Stratton pitched better in the PCL, spending the year there except for a stretch in May when he got into seven games out of the Giants’ bullpen.  He roughly held his own in the majors.  The Giants did not call him up in September.

2017
AAA:  4-5-0, 5.11 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 79.1 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 8.1 K/9
MLB:  4-4-1, 3.68 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 58.2 IP, 4.3 BB/9, 7.8 K/9

Stratton split his time between AAA and the majors, coming up briefly twice before returning to the majors to stay in late July.  There wasn’t a lot of difference in his pitching between the two levels, despite the ERAs.  His xFIP was slightly better in AAA.

2018
AAA:  3-0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 24.0 IP, 3.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
MLB:  10-10-0, 5.09 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 145.0 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Other than being sent to AAA for brief stretches in July and August, Stratton spent the season in the rotation in the majors.  Other than a good month of April, he wasn’t very effective, with opponents hitting 273/336/455 against him for the season.

2019
AAA:  0-1-0, 4.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 4.0 IP, 2.3 BB/9, 9.0 K/9
MLB (LAA):  0-2-0, 8.59 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 29.1 IP, 5.5 BB/9, 6.8 K/9
MLB:  1-1-0, 3.66 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 46.2 IP, 2.9 BB/9, 9.1 K/9

At the end of spring training, San Francisco traded Stratton to the Angels.  He struggled badly in five starts and two relief appearances.  Opponents batted 344/424/576 against him and he allowed a home run every five innings.  In early May the Angels designated him for assignment and then sent him to the Pirates for cash.  He spent the rest of the season pitching in long relief for the Pirates, except for missing a month with an injury in his right side.  He was much more effective with them, with good walk and K rates.  He had a little trouble with gopher balls, allowing seven.

2020
MLB:  2-1-0, 3.90 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 30.0 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 11.7 K/9

Stratton served mostly in a middle relief role and pitched reasonably well.  His ERA was inflated by a low strand rate of 57.5%; his xFIP was 3.50.  Like many Pirate pitchers, he reduced his fastball usage, in his case from 57% to 46%.  He mixed in a lot of sliders, curves and changeups, for more of a starter’s mix than you normally see from a reliever.  His change produced a lot of swings and misses, and his four-seamer produced a good number for a fastball.  The slider was his least effective pitch.  The heavy mix of secondary pitches had results that were similar to those of many of the team’s other pitchers, increasing both his walk and K rates.

Stratton should continue as a solid middle reliever for the Pirates.  Of course, one problem the team faces is too many middle relievers and too few shutdown, late-inning relievers, but Stratton is one of the better of the former.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2021: $1,100,000
2020:
Major League Minimum
2019:
$567,500
2018: $552,500
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $1,850,000
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut: 5/30/2016
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2023
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2015
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2016, 2017, 2018)
MLB Service Time: 3.097
TRANSACTIONS
June 4, 2012: Drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 1st round, 20th overall pick; signed on June 12.
November 20, 2015:
Contract purchased by the San Francisco Giants.
March 26, 2019: Traded by the San Francisco Giants to the Los Angeles Angels for Williams Jerez.
May 7, 2019: Designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels.
May 11, 2019: Traded by the Los Angeles Angels to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.
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