Dan “Strikeout” Straily flew through the minors of the Oakland Athletics farm system. He may have had an uninspiring 9-7 record though all minor league levels, but he boasted a very impressive 2.78 ERA. However, the most eye-popping statistic was his 190 strikeouts in just 152 innings pitched. He showed amazing command over his fastball and breaking pitches, which quickly got him introduced into the A’s rotation.
Straily made his MLB debut on August 3rd of this past year. In his first start, he dazzled the Toronto Blue Jays in six innings of work with only 5 hits, 1 earned run, and 5 strikeouts. Straily unfortunately did not get his first win until two starts later, but he still showed his fantasy potential as a front of the rotation guy.
The 23-year old right-hander finished the year with a 2-1 record and a very respectable 3.89 ERA. He managed to strikeout 29 batters in 35 innings of work, which is solid, but a little below-average considering all the fantasy hype surrounding his jaw-dropping strikeout totals.
His 1.32 whip was a little high, but he at least was able to pitch out of a couple jams to help the A’s make the playoffs. He was eventually removed from the postseason rotation due to Brett Anderson returning from an oblique injury, but Straily will remain a key part of the team’s future plans.
The team was extremely conservative with him, as he did not pitch more than 7 innings in any of his major league starts, or throw over 104 pitches. It was obviously a ploy to keep their young ace healthy, especially with all the Stephen Strasburg attention.
Straily may still be unproven and too young to judge, but all preliminary indications are that he is the next great fantasy pitcher to come out of the Oakland area. Oakland has been known to discover young pitchers, such as the aforementioned Brett Anderson, Dan Harden, Gio Gonzalez, Jarrod Parker, Drew Haren, and Barry Zito to name a handful.
Straily will still be an under-the-radar guy to keep an eye on next year. He will certainly have a rotation spot next year, as Bartolo Colon will most likely be out the door. The righty will put up much better strikeout numbers in a larger MLB sample size and could prove to be a great fifth fantasy starter in deeper leagues. Do not let this fire-baller pass you buy next spring, because in dynasty leagues it may be the last time you get a chance at him.