One of our regular offseason traditions is the Exit Interview, where we look back at each player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals in the past season. This is the 11th season we’ve done this and it’s a good way to get a view of the whole year, not just a short stretch of games. It’s sort of like a performance review before the players went off to their offseason work, spending a little time with Oli Marmol and going over what went right, what went wrong. Stats and grades are only for a player’s time in St. Louis, though splits numbers may include other teams. As always, my sincere thanks to the legend of cardinalsgifs for providing the header image!
Player: Chris Stratton
Season stats: 5-0, 2.78 ERA, 20 G, 22.2 IP, 22 H, 12 BB, 23 K, 16 IR, 5 IRS, 2.80 FIP, 1.500 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 0.3 bWAR, 0.3 fWAR
Statcast: .315 xwOBA, 5.7 barrel %, 89.7 exit velocity, 41.1 hard hit %, 21.5 K %, 9.0 BB %
Best Statcast category: Fastball Spin, Curve Spin (99th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Avg Exit Velocity (18th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 2
Positives: Was a bit of an afterthought in the Jose Quintana trade but turned in a solid performance for the Cardinals….threw scoreless frames in his first two Cardinal outings….finished the year throwing 2.2 scoreless innings….had a 2.88 ERA in the second half….had a 1.74 ERA in September….struck out over 10 per 9 in May and August….had a 1.50 ERA in the 10 total games that he won….had a 3.50 ERA in non-save situations….batters hitting leadoff had a .558 OPS against him….limited hitters to a .587 OPS when ahead in the count….kept the first batter he faced to a .196 average….had a 1.59 ERA and a .554 OPS in the eighth inning….had a 1.69 ERA with one day of rest….the Cubs had a .382 OPS against him and didn’t score in 10.1 innings….batters hit .173 on the curveball.
Negatives: Allowed multiple runs twice, early in his St. Louis tenure….lefties hit .333/.408/.489 against him….allowed a .310 average at home….ninth place hitters slashed .471/.546/.647….batters in the bottom third of the order posted a .893 OPS….hitters got him to a .367 average if they swung on the first pitch….they had a 1.145 OPS if they hit that first pitch….if the batter was ahead in the count, they wound up having an OPS of .998….allowed an .801 OPS with two outs in an inning….gave up a .315 average with runners in scoring position….had an .875 OPS in high leverage situations….had a 9.58 ERA and a 1.078 OPS in the seventh inning….the Brewers got to him for an .830 OPS….batters hit .384 on his fastball.
Overview: Stratton isn’t the guy that you want to necessarily see in the biggest of situation, but he seemed to thrive when getting to St. Louis and having a stronger defense behind him. There’s always a need for a fairly reliable guy to take the game from Point A to Point B without it getting out of hand along the way and Stratton seems to fit that bill. His FIP was very solid throughout the year and while he doesn’t have a huge strikeout rate, it’s still a pretty good one. Having Stratton in the bullpen is just one less thing to worry about.
Outlook: The Cardinals liked what they saw and Stratton appeared to enjoy his time as well, as the two sides agreed on a contract worth $2.8 million to avoid arbitration. That was less than he was projected to get but not having to go through the process probably had some appeal to him as well. Stratton will likely be a workhorse in 2023, the year before he can enter free agency.