HUNTER STRATTON, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: November 17, 1996
Drafted: 16th Round, 478th Overall, 2017
How Acquired: Draft
College: Walters State CC
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Four rounds after taking Hunter Wolfe out of Walters State, the Pirates tapped one of his teammates in Stratton. A 6’4″ right-handed pitcher, like so many drafted by the Pirates, Stratton topped out at 87 MPH in high school, while throwing a three-pitch mix. He’s filled out his tall frame a little since then; he now throws in the 93-97 range, with a slider and cutter. As a freshman, he made eight starts and 11 relief appearances, posting a 4.40 ERA in 43 innings, which was a little higher than average for the team. He held batters to a .225 average and recorded 51 strikeouts. In 2017, he took more of a starting role and posted a 3.93 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 66.1 innings. Baseball America rated him 20th in the state of Tennessee, not far removed from their top 500.
Stratton pitched as a starter for Bristol, except for one relief appearance, but a lot of his starts were brief due to control issues and pitch counts. He went fewer than four innings in six of his 11 starts. Opponents batted only .228 against him and he had a decent strikeout rate, but the control issues were a problem throughout the season. He had an especially rough finish. After holding opponents to a 192/304/253 line through the end of July, they battered him for 288/451/475 in August.
Stratton spent the season in the West Virginia rotation. His numbers weren’t good, although they were inflated quite a bit by his two relief appearances, which came at the beginning of the season. Opponents had a 1.383 OPS in those two games, but in his 20 starts he only gave up a 232/327/344 line. In his last ten starts, his ERA was 2.82, although he walked 24 in 51 innings in those starts.
Stratton spent the year at Bradenton, pitching in relief apart from three spot starts. He often pitched in stints of 3-4 innings. Opponents batted only .209 against him and he allowed just four HRs, but walks were more of a problem than the previous year. He also had some trouble with left-handed hitters; he allowed them a .762 OPS, compared to just .549 by right-handed hitters.
Stratton pitched strictly in relief in 2021, dividing the season between Altoona and Indianapolis. He dominated at Altoona, with an extremely high K rate and an opponents’ batting average of .182. His walk rate remained high, but didn’t impact him much because he was so hard to hit. AAA was more of a challenge, although Stratton pitched reasonably well. He had no platoon split.
Stratton went into the season seemingly in a position to pitch his way to the majors, but his season didn’t go well. He continued to miss a lot of bats, but he also missed the plate far too much. He had a lot of trouble with left-handed hitters, allowing them a line of 276/411/414.
Stratton should try again in AAA in 2023. It will be his last year before minor league free agency.
|2023: Minor league contract
MiLB Debut: 2017
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2020
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 14, 2017: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 16th round, 478th overall pick; signed on June 21.|