Six years and 199 games in the minors. Two and a half years in Triple-A. Just when you thought there was no more light at the end of the tunnel, an opportunity presented itself.
That’s the story of Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Hunter Stratton, 26, who was called up on Friday.
“I couldn’t believe it, but now I can,” he told reporters after joining the team for a home game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Selected by the Pirates in the 16th round of the 2017 draft, he went 19-23 with a 4.25 ERA in 199 minor league appearances.
“This was the last year of my contract with the Pirates,” he said. “It sounds a little crazy, but there was no ‘Plan B’ for me. I gave it everything I had,” he said, adding that he gave it everything he had.
In 47 appearances at Triple-A this season, he pitched 56 1/3 innings with a 3.99 ERA, 1.331 WHIP, 1.1 home runs per nine innings, 5.0 walks and 11.8 strikeouts.
He’s been particularly stellar since August, going 13 1/3 innings in 12 games without allowing a run. He walked five and struck out 19 during that stretch, a career-changing performance.메이저놀이터
When asked about his August success, he said, “I didn’t add any new weapons to my arsenal, but I changed my mindset against hitters. “I just threw strikes, thinking that every pitch starts with a 0-0 count, and that helped me a lot,” he explained.
“I felt like I had good pitches, so anything could happen, and I had nothing to lose, so I was like, ‘If you’re going to hit it, hit it,'” he said.
Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said, “The biggest reason is that we needed a pitcher. That doesn’t mean what he did didn’t mean something. He pitched really well,” Shelton said of his decision to call up Stratton.
As for what role he’ll play, he said he’s “putting everything on the table” and is looking forward to a variety of roles.
“I can’t even imagine how hard it is to play two and a half years in Triple-A,” Shelton said. It probably felt like a tunnel with no end in sight. But if you keep performing well, you eventually get to where you are now,” he said, noting that his call-up was a big accomplishment not only for him, but for the entire organization.