What Does Dan Straily Offer for Astros Rotation? (w/interview)

Michael Foltynewicz was expected to be fighting for the 2015 starting rotation, but he was traded to the Braves in package for Evan Gattis and James Hoyt. With Folty out of the picture, the fifth spot in the rotation is up in the air. The most logical person to fill that spot is Brad Peacock, but he is still recovering from an injury that will have him miss the start of the season. Enter Dan Straily. He was acquired via the Dexter Fowler trade, along with third base candidate Luis Valbuena.

Straily on The Trade

How did Straily find out that he was traded to the Astros? “I was working out, my phone was attached to the stereo at the gym, otherwise I would have probably missed the call” Straily said. “I had to stop lifting because my phone was ringing non-stop.”

“I was working out, my phone was attached to the stereo at the gym, other wise I would have probably missed the call”-Straily on trade.

What are his thoughts of the Astros from an outsider view last season? “I saw a lot of young talent and thought that the Astros would be contenders in the very near future,” Straily said. “Now I am excited to be a part of it all.” He thanked the Cubs for his opportunity, but he’s ready for a fresh start in Houston.

While he couldn’t answer what he felt like his role would be on the 2015 Astros,  he seems to be geared towards the starting rotation. What are his strengths as a starter? He said he is a “strike thrower, it’s what has made me so successful.”

“strike thrower, it’s what has made me so successful.”-Straily on his strength as a starter.

What is Straily’s offseason routine? “I took about a week off when I got home, then got to work in the weight room. I learned early in my career that if you want to feel good at the end of the season, that you need to really put in your work in the offseason, and that is something that has just always stuck with me.”

Straily’s Pitching Repertoire

What is Dan Straily’s best pitch? “I think all my pitches are my best honestly! By that I mean that I will use all of them to get a hitter out depending on the situation”Straily said. “I am sure that in today’s world, someone can pull up numbers making a case for one or more, but I am confident in all of them.”

“I think all my pitches are my best honestly! By that I mean that I will use all of them to get a hitter out depending on the situation”-Straily.

Straily stated, “I have worked on a curve in the last year. I threw it very little, but I liked it more and more as the season went on.” Straily is right, we can actually see which pitches he throws the most. During the 2013 season, Dan Straily threw only 2% of his pitches as curve balls, it increased to 4.2% in 2014.

What about his other pitches, let’s compare.

from Fangraphs2013Avg Speed2014Avg Speed
Fastball59.10%90.3 mph58.60%88.7 mph
Slider28%83.4 mph23.10%74.9 mph
Curveball2%74.9 mph4.70%72.4 mph
Change-up10.90%82.5 mph13.70%81.2 mph

Some thoughts from looking at his pitches thrown, the biggest difference from 2013 and 2014 was his fastball speed which dropped from 90.3 mph to 88.7 mph. He also threw less fastballs in 2014 and more change-ups. This would explain some of his struggles, as well as trying to adapt to the bullpen once he was traded to the Cubs.

I asked Straily what was his biggest reason for his success in 2013? His response was “that was the summer that I finally figured out a change-up! It just gave me more weapons to attack left-handers with.”

Here is a look at the stats from 2013 and 2014;

WinsLossesERAIPKBBWHIPHR/FB
2013 A’s1083.96152.1124571.2418.20%
2014 A’s124.9338.134151.252
2014 Cubs0111.8513.21392.122
2014 2-teams136.755247241.48113.20%

 

Jeff Luhnow said at the bloggers round table at Astros Fan Fest that “you don’t get players like Straily if they had a good year. With the ways we teach pitching down here, we see him winning ten-games this season with the Astros.” Luhnow also told us that in Lowrie trade discussions with Oakland, the Astros wanted Straily but were told he was unavailable. Straily was not aware of their interest until after the Dexter Fowler trade, and Luhnow brought it up.

“you don’t get players like Straily if they had a good year. With the ways we teach pitching down here, we see him winning ten-games this season with the Astros.”-Luhnow.

Brett Strom has some recent success of creating dominant pitching from the strength of a pitcher. Examples of his teaching were demonstrated last season with Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh. I asked Straily if he has heard anything about Brett Strom, he said that he has “heard good things, and cant wait to get to Florida to get to work.”

What do Astros fans need to know about Dan Straily

  • He’s married.
  • He hunts.
  • He has a French Bulldog, here is a picture.

Who was his favorite baseball player? “I grew up a big Mike Piazza fan, born in so-cal and my dad and great grandfather took me to many games while we were still down there. I just always seemed to follow him and his career.”

Straily mentioned on Twitter that he likes this show called Gold Rush. I asked him to convince me to watch it, because he sounds like a fan. His response was “I am supporting a fellow Oregonian in chasing his dream of providing for his family the best way he knows how. Plus I like learning about other careers, so its fun to see how it all works”

While looking at his stats from 2014, keep in mind Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh’s stats from 2013. Just because he had a down season, it doesn’t mean he will never succeed again. I’m sure if you ask his former teammates they will say that he is better than he showed in 2014. His former teammates are Brad Peacock, Chris Carter, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek, Max Stassi, Jed Lowrie, and Luis Valbuena.

I’m rooting for him to make the rotation in 2015, and feel he just needed a change of scenery. What are your thoughts? Does he make the rotation?