Exit Interview 2023: Chris Stratton

This season didn’t go like most seasons.  The Cardinals were terrible.  I stopped writing here very much, with nothing after the blog anniversary.  However, some things must go on and that includes the Exit Interview series!  Now in its 12th year, it’s our look back at each player that made an appearance in a game for the St. Louis Cardinals.  We’re approaching it a little different this season, a little more literary and a little less statistical, but hopefully you enjoy it just the same.  As always, I am grateful that cardinalsgifs has agreed to use his talent for the header image!

Player: Chris Stratton

Stats (Cardinals): 1-1, 1 SV, 42 G, 53.2 IP, 45 H, 4 HR, 17 BB, 59 K, 4.19 ERA, 3.03 FIP, 1.155 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR

Statcast (all): 8.3% barrel, 30.4% sweet spot, 114.0 max exit velocity, .283 wOBA, .296 xwOBA, 24.0% K, 7.4% BB

Grade: C

There’s a lot of things that aren’t glamorous but are necessary for things to work.  For my Christmas light display, nobody looks at the stakes and extension cords.  They look at the bright lights and inflatables.  Without those cords, though, things would be significantly smaller and the whole thing just wouldn’t work.  It’s not flashy, but it’s valuable.

Stratton’s time in St. Louis–and, indeed, probably his entire career–can be summed up like this.  He’s not the flashy closer, he’s definitely not starting a game.  He’s just there to make sure things don’t get out of hand, either keeping the lead or making sure the deficit doesn’t grow.  For the most part, he’s been fairly successful at that.  This year, out of his 42 appearances with the Cardinals he wasn’t charged with a run in 23 of them (in two others he only allowed an unearned run) and he only allowed 12 of the 44 runners he inherited to score.  Again, it wasn’t fancy–he only picked up four holds as a Redbird in 2023 in part because he came into a lot of games where St. Louis was behind–but it was effective.

Effective enough to get him included with Jordan Montgomery in the deal to Texas, which led to him getting a World Series ring for the first time in his career.  Interestingly, while his ERA was significantly higher than his FIP in Cardinal red, the numbers flipped in Texas blue.  That said, he was worth almost 1/2 a bWAR to the Rangers so I don’t think they were disappointed by any means in the production he put up.

What’s in store for 2024: Stratton is a free agent this winter and there’s no telling what the market is for a 33 year old reliever.  That said, someone is going to grab him, even if it’s just a return to Pittsburgh with the idea that they’ll flip him at the trade deadline, something he’s getting used to.  Because you can always use another extension cord.

Series Navigation<< Exit Interview 2023: Michael SianiExit Interview 2023: Andrew Suarez >>

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