(Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

What newly-signed Orioles SP Dan Straily adds to the team

After using their bullpen heavily in the first week of the season, the Orioles have added a veteran starter to the staff.

April 06, 2019 - 7:54 pm

By: Kyle J. Andrews

BALTIMORE -- On Friday's off day, the Baltimore Orioles signed right-handed starting pitcher Dan Straily to a one-year contract. In a corresponding move, they designated utilityman Drew Jackson for assignment.

After being released by the Miami Marlins on March 25, Straily was looked at as a viable option in Baltimore. The Orioles have recently used Nate Karns as an opener and due to this, they've had to used more relievers. When you have tired relieves, it makes since to sign someone that has proven capable to throw 180 innings in the past.

“The Orioles called me right away,” he said. “They said, ‘Here’s our offer for you. If this is something you’re interested in let us know,’ so it materialized pretty quickly once we kind of had that going. For me, I was more interested in starting games than going to the bullpen somewhere, and this is one of the few places that gave me the opportunity to do that right away.”

Before being released, Straily signed a $5 million deal in arbitration. The 30-year old pitched to a 5.94 ERA in Spring Training, pitching just 15 days ago against the Washington Nationals. Due to the recency of his time pitching, he believes that he will be ready to join the starting the rotation shortly.

“I threw 100 pitches last Friday and I threw 50 pitches on Wednesday,” he said, “so I’m going to get off the hill a little bit today after the travel and everything else and probably be available pretty quickly.”

Straily has five different pitches in his repertoire: a four-seam fastball that sits around 91 mph, an 84-mph slider, a changeup that also sits at 84 mph, a sinker that is in the 91 mph range and a rarely-used curveball (75 mph), per Brooks Baseball.

Over the course of his career, Straily has a 45.9% flyball rate, in comparison to a 33.8% groundball rate and a 25.5% line drive rate. His fastball, sinker and curve generate higher flyball rate than his slider and changeup. His changeup creates the most swing and misses with a sinking action. That same changeup had a 41.5% whiff rate in 2018, so it's something to keep an eye on.

Fangraphs' Devan Fink found an interesting tidbit of information on Straily, who tended to throw more two-strike changeups for a ball in 2018 (47.0%) than he had in 2017 (39.7%). His changeup also saw a drop in a swing-and-miss from 18.6% in 2017 to 11.9% in the following year. After bringing in general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde, the Orioles have become more committed to analytics. These same analytics could prove helpful for Straily, who has familiarity with both Elias and Hyde as a former pitcher with the Cubs and Astros respectively.

If Straily is successful early in his time with Baltimore, he could become a trade chip for a team that is expected to rebuild in the 2019 season. He is prepped for that possibility as a veteran starter on a one-year deal.

“My job’s to pitch,” said Straily. “My job is to come in and pitch. That’s my agent and the front office working together. But while I’m here I’m 100 percent committed to here. Wherever here is. I’ve been in a lot of different places in my career, but I can tell you that each place I’ve been to I’ve been 100 percent committed to that specific spot while I was there.”

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