Cove Chatter 100: #9

Chris Stratton | RHP, 23 yo, 6-3, 186 | 2012 Draft – 1 (20) | (A) 22 GS, 132 IP, 3.27 ERA, 128 H, 47 BB, 123 K

Stratton could be as high as #3 on the list, or not in the top 10 at all, depending on who you ask. His fastball is arguably second best in the organization among starters right now (hitting 95 at times), and his slider earns rave reviews. He’s got an easy windup, a great college resume, and the potential to be a solid professional starter. But his numbers in Augusta this year didn’t resemble those of a top SEC pitcher. He spent a good portion of the season working on a 2-seam fastball, and that may explain his down performance to an extent. Obviously, down is a relative term, as he did have a few tremendous starts in the SALLY. But his full body of work just doesn’t match up to what you’d normally expect from someone with his pedigree. For now I’ll keep Stratton behind the quartet of younger starters who’ve excelled at higher levels, with the understanding that he could be a big mover in 2014 if his full repertoire is unleashed.

“Stratton could have started his first full season as a pro in San Jose and been just fine…slider is a true out pitch…It might take a few less-than-stellar outings in a higher level for him to establish inside on a more consistent basis.” ~ David Lee, Augusta Chronicle

Stratton Video:

(Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

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8 thoughts on “Cove Chatter 100: #9”

  1. Stratton is the lynchpin for the difference between the Giants being a top 10, middle 10 or bottom 10 system. I can make a pretty good argument for about 10 teams to be below the Gigantes, but they are definitely not top ten either. But if they had a guy like Lucas Sims as well as their other arms, that might tip the difference, and some arguments could be made to get them out of the middle tier.

    But there’s the rub, and its a good one – if Stratton does rebound and pitch as well as he did his senior year at MS ST, the Giants have another big arm on their hands. His performance thus far may have been slowed by this concussion. He definitely has a good set of pitches, its just a question of getting his velocity square, and competing harder against hitters. I want to see better numbers, and if he goes CA league, that maybe hard to do, in all the hitters parks.

    1. Well, I’d say the bar has been set pretty high by the 2013 San Jose crew, so Stratton certainly has something to shoot for… as does the rest of that crop moving up from Augusta. You’re absolutely right, if Stratton pitched at the level we had hoped this year, that would certainly add a clear #2 and potentially another top 100 prospect to the system… not that those things matter much to us, but his performance in the SALLY definitely pulled the hype down a bit. He had a slower adjustment period in college, so maybe he needs a couple of years to settle into the pro game.

      Speaking up top of the organization hype, maybe the Giants will have something to say about that with the 1st round pick this year. Luis Ortiz would look pretty good in a Giants hat, in my humble opinion.

  2. Yeah, Stratton is a huge puzzle. I have read the thought that perhaps his concussion had something to do with him placed so low in Augusta. Of course, the loaded San Jose rotation was another factor, meaning that he could have started with Augusta or with Richmond, and the Giants decided to take it easy on him

    And taking it easy on him fits in with what you noted about him working on his 2-seamer, may as well let him practice in a lower league than get mashed learning his new pitch in AA. Pitching is different than hitting because of TINSTAAPP, it is more a matter of how mentally mature your prospect is, because you don’t want your pitcher changing good mechanics and habits just because he’s in a higher level and getting hit around right now. Still, new guys coming in, you don’t want them crushed immediately either, he needs to build his confidence in himself as a pro, to some extent.

    His lack of IP is also hurting his prospect status for 2014, he will have to get through a year unscathed for his health and pitch a relatively full season, maybe getting shut down near the end, depending on how deep into games he made it to.

    I’ve also wondered if Steve Kline’s placement as pitching coach in Augusta would be another reason. You seem to read through a lot of the local media for our farm teams, have you seen anything interesting about Kline from the Augusta writers? Like what he’s good at teaching, prospects thoughts on him as coach, is there one pitch he’s known for (like Roger Craig and the splitter), Giants management thoughts about him and his strengths/weaknesses, his thoughts on coaching.

    1. You know, that’s a great question OGC. I do read a lot of the stuff David Lee puts out for the Augusta Chronicle, but I don’t know that I’ve ever read much about Kline’s influence. I know that he’s well respected in the organization, but that’s about all. I’ll have to do some looking into the matter!

  3. 6-3, 186 # ? Sounds like can add to his frame, maybe fastball, and definitely stamina. Pretty nice to have Mella and Stratton rounding out the top 10. Either one of them could really shoot up ranks and generate some buzz. It only takes one good year, their most recent, to make a case for themselves.

    1. Stratton is a little lanky, and I’m sure the Giants wouldn’t mind him adding a few pounds in muscle over the offseason. He’s got a lot to prove this year, that’s for sure. I’m not sure what to expect from him in the Cal league, but maybe he’ll surprise us. If he hasn’t figured it out (which I’m sure he has), there’s an arms race in the organization right now, and all of these guys need to step their games up to get ahead of the competition.

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