Prior to the start of the season – and before the Gio Gonzalez trade to the Nationals – Baseball America ranked the Oakland A’s farm system among the worst in baseball, at 26. At that point they were pretty thin once you got past Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, and Michael Choice. So it’s a bit surprising that quick-rising right-hander Daniel Straily didn’t at least crack the team’s top 30.
After a middling career at Marshall – he averaged just 7.28 strikeouts and more than 4.2 walks per nine innings during his final season – Oakland nabbed the right-hander with an average upper 80s fastball in the 24th round of the 2009 draft and started him in low-A.
With Vancouver, Straily tossed another 59 innings, but his peripherals improved considerably: 10.07 K/9 and 2.75 BB/9. Oakland promoted him to A-ball the following season, 2010, and his numbers continued to impress: 3.71 FIP (fielding independent pitching), 9.06 K/9, and 3.71 BB/9. Last season in high-A, his numbers improved once again: 3.10 FIP, 8.63 K/9 and 2.24 BB/9.
Straily finally made it to Double-A this season where, unsurprisingly, he continued to dominate. His 11.39 K/9 not only paced the Texas League, but the entire Double-A level and were among the best in all the minors, all the while showing above-average command (2.43 BB/9).
The A’s recently promoted him to Triple-A and through three starts he’s averaging more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings, and his last game, a six-inning start against the Colorado Spring Sky Sox, he struck out 10.
Straily not only has the typical pitcher’s build, 6-foot-2 and 229 pounds, but his arsenal is above-average too. His fastball, which once graded out as below-average, now sits in the 91 – 94 mph range and has reportedly touched 95. His slider is swing-and-miss and his changeup adds another veritable weapon (click here for scouting report provided by minorleagueball.com).
For whatever reason, Straily was overlooked by Baseball America prior to the season, but he’s become one of better power pitching prospects in the upper minors and should be ready to break into the big leagues by year’s end. He has the ceiling of a solid number three – maybe a two, depending how he commands the zone against big league hitters – and given his relatively strong workloads the past two seasons (148 and 160.2 innings) he should be ready to become a 200+ inning pitcher as soon as next year. Click here for video.
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