We took a little break from profiling the Oakland Athletics prospects that are being featured in the top 115 prospects over at Seedlings to Stars due to the FanFest festivities and whatnot, but as the list is still being unveiled over there, it seemed appropriate to pick up where we left off (You can check back at the previous profiles here and here).
Coming in at number 72 was starter Dan Straily. Due to his limited service time last season during the pennant race, he still qualifies as a prospect. He was on very few radars coming into the 2012 season, and wowed everyone with his dominant performances throughout the Athletics minor league system. He posted a 2.78 ERA and struck out 190 hitters in just 152 innings pitched between Double A Midland and Triple A Sacramento. His performance earned him a call up to Oakland, where he showed flashes of that talent, but was largely inconsistent and prone to the long ball with the A’s.
Straily posted a 3.89 ERA in Oakland, but his 6.48 FIP tells the story that he had some good fortune save him from some sticky situations. Part of that though can likely be attributed to raw talent and “stuff” that he was able to conjure up when he needed it the most. He throws a wicked breaking ball that once harnessed will be a dominant strikeout pitch even in the major leagues. If he can develop his command to a major league caliber, and stop walking 3.66 hitters every 9 innings, he’ll be just fine.
Odds are that his ceiling is a bit higher than his buddy A.J. Griffin, simply due to the potential to dominate hitters that Griffin doesn’t possess. Coming into the 2013 season the chances are that Straily and Griffin will be competing for the 5th spot in the Athletics rotation with the other 4 slots all but settled before anyone even reports to Phoenix. Of course Bartolo Colon still has time on his PED suspension to serve so they’ll probably both be in the rotation at first, but one of them will likely be the odd man out when Bartolo returns. If I were in charge of the Athletics, I’d give Straily some more time to work on his command in Sacramento when that time comes. The A’s may have found a true diamond in the rough with this 24th rounder, and they need to put him in the best situation to succeed long term. Griffin will provide more than adequate stability from the 5th spot in the rotation right now, but Straily’s time will come when he’s ready.