It has not been confirmed yet, but Giants' right-hander Matt Cain appears to be headed to the disabled list after injuring his hamstring in Friday night's series opener in Colorado. The replacement, for whatever the move is, will be San Francisco's 2012 first-round pick, Mississippi State grad Chris Stratton, according to sources in the Tupelo, Miss. area — Stratton's hometown.
The early morning buzz is that pitcher Chris Stratton (Tupelo HS, Mississippi State) has been called up by the San Francisco Giants.— John L. Pitts (@JohnLPitts) May 28, 2016
Stratton is on the 40-man roster, so there will be no need for a larger move. He was the scheduled starter for the Sacramento River Cats today at home against Oklahoma City. So the move is interesting in that, if Stratton is being called up to start Cain's spot in the rotation, which would come up June 1, he would be pitching on nine days rest, and thus disrupting his routine. A recall of Ty Blach would have made more sense, if this is a real concern, considering he was the River Cats starter Friday night, and would be right in line to make his regularly scheduled start on normal rest June 1.
Clearly there were other factors going into the decision, and so it's Stratton joining the Giants as the team prepares for game two of a 14-game road trip. It's also possible that Stratton isn't being called up to make Cain's start, but in fact just provide extra security for the bullpen.
Stratton's best season statistically as a pro came last year, split between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento. He made nine starts with the Flying Squirrels, posting a 4.14 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 50 innings. His downfall were an average of four walks per nine innings, but he balanced out his WHIP with a solid .215 opposing batting average. Stratton was promoted to Sacramento around this time last year, making his Triple-A debut on June 5. He finished out the season with a 3.86 ERA in 17 starts, to go along with 72 punch outs in 98 innings.
His 2016 has seen less impressive numbers, including 58 hits allowed in 52.1 innings, but his strikeout rate remains the same along with a greatly improved walk rate — 2.6 per nine compared to his 4.2 average in Double-A.
Stratton features a low-90s fastball that sometimes creeps up in the 94-95 range, as well as a slider, curveball, and changeup. The slider has notoriously been his best secondary offering, with the curveball and changeup being spotty most of the time.
The times are exciting for the Stratton family, as he and his wife recently gave birth to their first son, Mack. Here's to hoping he can nap at AT&T Park, too.
— For the latest on #SFGiants minor leaguers, follow @Giant_Potential on Twitter