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July 19, 2012

Future Shock Blog

Minor League Update: Hultzen v. Straily edition

by Kevin Goldstein

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 Danny Hultzen, LHP, Mariners (Triple-A Tacoma) and Dan Straily, RHP, Athletics (Triple-A Sacramento)

Everyone knows how great the MLB.tv product is, but the minor league version is incredible valuable to prospect folks. Sure the video quality varies wildly, and sure the majority of games are at the upper levels, but when the game of the night is in the northwest corner of the country, one is awfully happy it is there. It was the pitching matchup of the night, and it did not disappoint.


For Hultzen, it was his best Triple-A start in five outings. He effectively spotted his fastball to all four quadrants of the zone and his slider was his out pitch as he whiffed eight over six innings while allowing just three hits. If there was any knock against him, he's starting to earn a reputation of going downhill once things go poorly. He was absolutely cruising until the sixth inning when he missed with a fastball to lead off hitter Jermaine Mitchell who hit a line drive homer to right. While it's certainly possible that Hultzen was tiring, he wasn't the same afterwards, walking back-to-back hitters after a Nick Franklin error and only escaping the inning with no more damage when Colin Cowgill was thrown out at home trying to score on a wild pitch. There's no conclusion here, and it shouldn't take away from a very promising outing, but it's a concerning trend.

For Straily, the minor league strikeout leader with 162 in just 126.1 innings, it was further validation that he's the real deal, as he needed just 104 pitches to get through eight innings while allowing just two hits and striking out eight. His fastball features above-average velocity and command, and his slider is solid, but it's his changeup that has developed into an absolute weapon; an easy plus pitch with good deception in his delivery and plenty of late break. If the Athletics go with the plan of being both buyers and sellers in the next 12 days, a Bartolo Colon deal could create an opening for Straily, and he sure looked ready last night.  

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

6 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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ajayathavale

You have mentioned Straily as a legitimate prospect several times lately, but can you give some more context? How does his overall stock compare to someone like Hultzen? Still don't have a grasp on how high he has risen.

Jul 19, 2012 10:29 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I think Straily could be a good three, maybe a bit more.

Jul 19, 2012 10:52 AM
 
BarryR

There is no team whose next two weeks will be more interesting than the A's. Straily is ready, but who does he replace in the rotation? Parker, Milone, Blackley, and Griffin have been excellent, so even subtracting Colon leaves them with one slot, with McCarthy, Anderson, and Braden all waiting in the wings, about to start rehab assignments.
Assuming they are also buyers, they need help on the left side of the IF, is a pitcher for Yunel Escobar a move? Todd Frazier? It ain't easy to find bats out there.

Jul 19, 2012 10:43 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

You're right. What they need is not what's available. They'll have to get creative.

Jul 19, 2012 10:51 AM
 
marctacoma

Did you stay up for the #weirdbaseball, Kevin?

The winning pitcher in this game was 1B Scott Savastono, who also hit a walk-off homer.

On Straily, how'd this happen? What happened between 2010-2011, or between last year (when he was good, but not dominant) and this year (dominant)?

Also, what grade would you give Hultzen's command overall? I'm still trying to understand why it comes and goes as much as it has.

Jul 19, 2012 11:03 AM
rating: 3
 
Infrancoeurgible

Developing plus changeups is the new market inefficiency in Oakland.

Jul 19, 2012 11:30 AM
rating: 3
 
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