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Friday, April 20, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TREND OR MIRAGE: CHRIS STRATTON SP SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

With the San Francisco Giants taking the cake in terms of being the team with the most pronounced bad injury luck to begin the 2018 season on the pitching side of things, the planets quickly aligned for the team's 2012 first-round pick Chris Stratton to get a long look to begin the year.  Having already opened eyes by pitching to a 3.68 ERA in 58.2 innings for the team in 2017, Stratton is off to a tremendous start to this season as he currently sits with the following numbers after posting another terrific outing Wednesday night (7 IP 1 ER 8 K):

1-1
2.22 ERA
0.90 WHIP
7.03 K/9

On face value, the numbers are phenomenal and Stratton has now given up just one earned run in his last 14 innings spanning two starts.  The key has been Stratton not giving up hits as he has surrendered just 15 in 24.1 IP and few hits obviously means fewer chances for opposing teams to score.  While that is all well and good, that has overshadowed some troubling red flag numbers elsewhere.  For one thing, Stratton's control has been a bit shaky with 7 walks in those 24.1 IP (2.59 BB/9) and it is a reminder of the very nasty 4.30 BB/9 he put up last season with the Giants.  In addition, Stratton's .231 BABIP is very lucky and his XFIP adjusted ERA of 4.03 might tell more the story of the type of pitcher he really is.  Yet another issue is the 7.03 K/9 which is below average by MLB standards and given the fact Stratton has almost always been in the mid-7.00 range, it is obviously he is not going to help in strikeouts.  Thus, the problem will arise where Stratton doesn't get the strand/BABIP luck he has been getting and he won't be able to extricate himself from trouble using the strikeout as well.  The end result will be a rise in ERA and WHIP and it could go all the way up to the 4.00 range as the XFIP suggested.  So in essence, Stratton is pitching on borrowed time in terms of his so-far great ratios.

In the end, Chris Stratton is a guy you can certainly keep riding until the trouble arises but beware of the expected regression which should start showing up before too long.  While you can be impressed with what Stratton has done so far, don't over-hype the production given the advanced indicators suggesting he is not as good as the numbers are showing.

TREND OR MIRAGE:  MIRAGE


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