Over the past two years, Chris Stratton has found a home in the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen. The former first-round pick was traded to Pittsburgh in May 2019. After posting a 5.09 ERA in 2018, he has been a different pitcher with the Pirates. While the Pirates have struggled this year, Stratton is on pace to have a career year.
In 26 appearances this season, Stratton has a 2.95 ERA. The Mississippi native has only allowed three home runs and struck out 31 batters. Although the Pirates pitching staff has posted a 4.81 ERA, Stratton has been a reliable arm. Over the past two months, he has been one of their most consistent relievers and is flying under the radar.
After a rough start to the season, Stratton has been one of baseball’s best relievers. Since the calendar flipped to May, he has allowed three earned runs in 23.1 innings of work. After finishing May with a 0.75 ERA, he has posted a 1.59 ERA so far in June. Even when he has allowed runners to reach, Stratton has pitched out of trouble.
Additionally, Stratton has continued to show his versatility. In seven appearances this year, the 30-year-old has pitched more than an inning. As the Pirates starters have struggled to pitch deep into games, he has helped cover the innings. The veteran reliever has had a heavy workload this year but has been even better.
In 36.1 innings of work, Stratton has held batters to a .228 average. It is the second-lowest mark of his career and only four points higher than last season. Through the first two and half months of the season, he has shown that 2020 was no fluke. In 82 career appearances with Pittsburgh, he has recorded a 3.49 ERA.
What to Expect from Stratton for the Remainder of 2021
As the trade deadline approaches, Stratton could be a popular name. He will be a free agent in 2024 and could fill multiple roles in a contenders bullpen. During his time in Pittsburgh, Stratton has had a talent for producing ground balls and getting batters to chase pitches out of the zone. While he doesn’t have the stuff to be a closer, the veteran reliever has proven to be a valuable piece for Pittsburgh.
Over the past two years, Stratton has been able to revitalize his career. His name has not been heavily mentioned in trade rumors, but that could change in the coming weeks. Regardless of what his future in Pittsburgh holds, he has had a solid run in the Steel City.
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