Dan Straily an Intriguing Buy-Low Candidate for Brewers


One of the best ways for a rebuilding club to work towards a better future is to try find and capitalize on “buy-low” candidates. Whether this is through minor trades, free agents, farmhands, or the waiver wire, there are several avenues that a club can utilize to add new talent to the fold. When wins and losses are of no consequence, it is the perfect opportunity to audition players and see who can become a useful piece at the big league level.

Led by GM Doug Melvin, the rebuilding Milwaukee Brewers are already elbow deep in this process. Melvin has shown to be quite adept at using the waiver process in the past, discovering diamonds in the rough like Casey McGehee, Brady Clark, and Derrick Turnbow in previous years and getting extracting solid value from them. The Brewers have already seen waiver claims like Hernan Perez and Shane Peterson make an impact in the major leagues this season, and Preston Guilmet and Matt Dominguez should get a fair shake at proving their worth at the big league level before the year is over.

Another buy-low candidate became available earlier today, as the Houston Astros designated RHP Dan Straily for assignment. The 26 year old has become somewhat of a journeyman, starting as a 24th round pick with the Oakland Athletics in 2009 before getting shipped to the Cubs as part of the Jeff Samardzjia deal last season. The Cubs sent Straily to Houston this past winter as a part of the deal of outfielder Dexter Fowler.

Straily does have some history of success at the major league level. After impressing in seven start audition in 2012, Straily got his full time shot in 2013. He started 27 games for the Athletics, pitching 152.1 innings with a 3.96 ERA, 124 strikeouts, 57 walks, and a 36.4% ground ball rate. A DRA of 3.78 supported the solid success Straily exhibited in 2013, and the right hander was valued at 2.07 DRA_PWARP and finished fourth in rookie of the year voting.

He has struggled at the big league level dating back to last season, however, pitching to a 6.55 ERA with a strikeout to walk ratio of 61:32 in 67.1 innings between the three franchises. He has allowed 10 earned runs in 15.1 innings this season in Houston. An extremely low strand rate (below 60%) is partly to blame for his struggles over the last two seasons, though he has also seen a marked increase in his walk rate. With the Astros are in the middle of a pennant race, Straily found himself without a spot on Houston’s roster.

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Straily is currently in the midst of a solid campaign at AAA, posting a 3.65 ERA/3.71 FIP in 98.2 innings. He is striking out batters at a rate close to 22%, but the more promising development is the fact that Straily has cut his walk rate down to just 4% after walking more than 10% of batters at the big league level over the past two seasons. Formerly rated as a top 100 prospect by Baseball Prospectus, the righty has yet to reach two years of major league service time and isn’t projected to be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.

As it stands, Milwaukee currently has two open spots on their 40 man roster. If Straily makes it through the AL without being claimed, it could be a wise move for the Brewers to pick up the 26 year old. A waiver claim wouldn’t cost the team much of anything, and the upside is picking up a relatively young, MLB ready pitcher with another five years of club control and the potential to be a useful back end starter . If the Brewers can help Straily recapture his 2013 form, he could be a solid rotation member or perhaps a trade piece down the road. If not, Milwaukee can cut ties with him and move on without costing themselves anything. In a season where wins and losses don’t matter anymore, the Brewers have nothing to lose by adding a buy-low candidate like Dan Straily to the fold.

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