You will not find the player who leads the minors and the majors in strikeouts this year on any top prospect lists. By his own admission, Daniel Straily was a below-average pitcher until 2010, when he incorporated a slider into his mix.
A year later, his change-up became baffling, and now he has three solid pitches.
The 23-year-old right-hander who was a target of many Major League teams at the trade deadline was called up by the A’s on Thursday, according to multiple media reports.
A 24th round pick out of Marshall University in 2009, Straily has 175 strikeouts in 138.1 innings between Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento.
At Sacramento, he struck out 67 in 53 innings, allowing just 27 hits and logging a 1.36 ERA in eight starts.
It has been a breakout season for a guy who had never pitched above Single-A until this year. In 2010, at low Single-A Kane County, Straily was 10-7 with a 4.32 ERA in 28 starts, striking out 149 in 148 innings but posting a 1.34 WHIP.
Last year, at advanced Single-A Stockton, his control improved as he recorded a 1.24 WHIP. He was 11-9 with a 3.87 ERA, allowing 160 hits in 160.2 innings with 154 strikeouts. This season, his WHIP was 1.09 at Midland and 0.77 at Sacramento.
Simply put, the late bloomer has learned to pitch. He features an arsenal of five offerings, including the plus four-seam fast ball, slider and change-up; and a curve ball and two-seamer that still need refinement.
According to Susan Slusser, a baseball writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, Straily will replace Travis Blackley, who will become a long reliever. This demonstrates the talented depth the A’s have in starting pitching because Blackley, a 29-year-old left-hander, is 3-3 with a 3.54 ERA in 18 games, including 10 starts, holding hitters to a .239 average.
With Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden and Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list, the A’s are still in need of rotation depth. They hope that Straily will continue his remarkable story at the Major League level.