As spring training games begin for the San Diego Padres, a majority of attention will be placed on the starting rotation. The biggest question being, who will fill it out? Matt Strahm needs to be one of those pitchers.
It didn’t matter that Matt Strahm was injured, the San Diego Padres wanted him. The Friars traded for Strahm last season as part of a package that sent Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, and Ryan Buchter to the Kansas City Royals. In return, the Padres acquired Strahm, Travis Wood, and outfielding prospect, Esteury Ruiz.
Strahm is now full recovered from a knee injury that sidelined him last year. He’s in major league camp with the Padres, hopeful of making the team as a starting pitcher.
Strahm, 26, caught the eye of Padres’ manager, Andy Green. In a recent interview with San Diego Union-Tribune writer Kevin Acee, Green said that Strahm “…looks great.” “He’s throwing the ball really well. It’s coming out hot…I’m very excited about him. He could pitch in the rotation or could be very formidable out of the bullpen.”
Make him a starter, skip, the team won’t be disappointed.
The scouting report on San Diego Padres LHP Matt Strahm.
Strahm is the same sort of high ceiling pitcher that General Manager A.J. Preller has been stockpiling for the last few seasons in San Diego.
Drafted out of Neosho County Community College in Kansas, Strahm possesses the tools and makeup to be a legitimate back-end of the rotation pitcher at the big league level.
He has a four-pitch mix (fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup), but needs to improve on his changeup. His fastball can sit 93-94, maxing out at 96-97 in shorter stints. His strength comes from being able to take a pitch, and change its speed and movement at will. Opposing hitters are routinely left guessing at what’s coming next from Strahm.
Just take a look at his strikeout rates over the course of his young career. He posted 10.99 K/9 innings at the High-A level. He followed up that performance with a 9.41 K/9 rate at AA and a 12.27 K/9 rate during his debut at the pro level. Strahm would provide the Padres with a different pitching style they currently lack; a high strikeout, low-contact guy.
The biggest obstacle he must overcome is control. When the wheels start coming off for Strahm, they fly off and make a lot of noise.
He made his major league debut in 2016 as a reliever for the Kansas City Royals. Over the course of 22 innings, Strahm recorded 4.5 BB/9 innings. That number increased in 2017, jumping to 5.71 over 34 innings of action.
Starting pitching options for the San Diego Padres.
San Diego Padres
Like it or not, Richard appears destined to be the Opening Day starter for the Padres. Mitchell has no options remaining and was brought in to be a starting pitcher, so, give him a rotation spot. Lamet and Perdomo are young arms that showed a lot of promise last season, both will more than likely have a spot in the rotation.
That leaves just one spot among all those names listed above. Andy Green previously stated that there are not enough innings to hand out to everyone who deserves a shot, and it appears as if he already has his favorites. Keep an eye on which pitchers get innings early on in spring training, this will tell us exactly where Green’s decision is headed.
Give it to Matt Strahm, I think we will all be pleasantly surprised with the results.