Mississippi State’s Chris Stratton was among one of the prized prospects on the Giants’ day one draft sheet, the only problem being few expected him to last until the 20th pick. Multiple respected draft sheets profiled Stratton as a top 15 pick, a few others had him in the top 10, so falling to the Giants wasn’t expected.
But he did.
According to those at the draft, the Giants couldn’t run to get their pick in quick enough, practically sprinting to get their selection of Stratton in considering they didn’t expect the hard throwing, 6’3 right hander to be available.
So what does Stratton bring to the Giants’ system? Plenty.
Chris started out the season in the Mississippi State bullpen but quickly forced his way into the starting rotation, eventually becoming the staff ace, leading the SEC in strikeouts with 127 (and only 25 walks, good for a 5+ K/BB ratio). Pundits have rarely questioned his skill set, which consists of four pitches – a fastball that can approach an easy 95 with good movement, a slider which is considered his strikeout pitch with plus rotation and a solid curve, which while not as strong as the slider, is still considered MLB level. Lastly is Stratton’s sinking changeup which is the worst of his arsenal, but still projects to be league average. If there was any concern though, and it’s possible as one of the main reasons for his “slipping” in the draft, it was his age – currently 22, soon to be 23 in August. Most of the teams picking in the upper half of the draft are in rebuild mode and simply aren’t interested in a player of that age, something the Giants are taking a risk on. But, assuming the Giants and Stratton can quickly hammer out a deal and he can finish out the season in A-ball before moving to Richmond next year, the age issues (at least on the surface) will be null-and-void.
From a talent standpoint only, the Giants did well, picking a player with a skill set that could’ve possibly been in the top 10, easily top 15, while picking 20th in the draft. And if the past decade has told us anything, it’s to trust Dick Tidrow and Brian Sabean when it comes to pitching.