Atlanta Braves rumors: Wish list includes Dallas Keuchel and apparently a lot of others
By Fred Owens
Atlanta Braves may need a hunter
Friday’s spate of non-tendered players included a pitcher might be a bounce-back candidate when the Giants designated Hunter Strickland for assignment.
In 2015 and 2016 Strickland produced quality bullpen innings for the Giants. In 2017 his walk rate jumped, but he still managed to hold above-average ERA.
The arrival of Farhan Zaidi meant a change to the way the Giants do business, so even though MLBTR project Strickland ‘s contract at $2.5M, Zaidi cut him loose.
His fastball still sits in the mid-90s, and for the first time in his major league career, he backed it up with an 82 mph slider that generated a 22% WHIFF rate.
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Reading between the lines a bit, it seems Strickland either decided to add it after 2017 or the pitching coach suggested he used it. In either case, the slider work but his fastball didn’t miss many bats, and he’s still throwing five different pitches.
Just looking at his public pitch f/x numbers suggests he should prune that down to a sinker-slider mix and work on getting the spin rate up on his fastball. Getting him on board with our new, mystery pitching coach – who will certainly be analytics inclined – could turn him around and add a valuable late-inning weapon.
That’s a wrap
In case you haven’t noticed the media monster must eat, even if it’s junk food. I don’t doubt the Atlanta Braves discussed Keuchel and probably contacted his agent. While not an Ace level arm, his experience, and knowledge would be a boon to Sean Newcomb, Max Fried, Kolby Allard, and all the young lefties in the pipeline.
I’m convinced the draft pick wouldn’t block his acquisition in the GM wanted him, and contrary to naysayers, Terry McGuirk said that there’s money available to sign the players they need.
The Braves are going to trade pieces over time that may well bring back prospects, and the pick they’d lose is in the 40s, not a first round player.,
Teams and free agents are now in a Catch-22 situation. Significant pitchers won’t sign until and a significant pitcher signs. Corbin may be the domino that starts the signing frenzy. He’s made it clear he wants to get it done before the Winter Meetings.
If he gets his wish, the Atlanta Braves could well make announcements soon after that. That is of course if they are inclined to sign anyone.
Hunter Strickland is a bounce-back guy who would benefit from a good dose of analytics. I wouldn’t overpay for him, but a one-year deal at a low-cost might produce good results.