It wouldn’t be the Cubs pen if there wasn’t one high-wire act involved. Thankfully, Pedro Strop fills that role. While most might have wanted him on a rail out of town after giving up THAT homer to Jhonny Peralta and his misplaced “h” in July, Strop ended up being one of the more effective set-up men around. Yeah, it wasn’t always smooth. Yeah, sometimes you watched from behind your couch. But in the end, the third out was usually recorded before you cut yourself.
Pedro Strop’s 2015
76 appearances/10.72 K per 9/3.84 BB per 9/0.66 HR per 9/.225 BABIP/73.9 LOB%/51.3 GB%/11.4 HR per FB%/2.91 ERA/3.16 FIP/1.1 WAR
Obviously, the first thing about about Strop is the walks. He’s going to walk people. With his fastball and slider moving so much, there are just days where he can’t really leash it in the zone. Even when he had his effective year in Baltimore in 2012, his walk-rate was over five per nine innings. So this is just how this is going to go down.
Luckily, Strop strikes out enough guys to make sure those walks don’t really move. 10.72 K/9 was good enough for the top 25 in baseball, and he’s the more strikeout prone pitcher than Rondon, which is probably why he’ll be first call if Rondon coughs up a hairball at some point this season or gets hurt. But those walks are one thing in the 8th, they’re another in the 9th. As we’ve all learned to the detriment of our anginas.
Strop’s .226 BABIP is something that’s also probably going to rise (if the creek don’t), though his career mark there is well below league average at .269. That’ll happen when your stuff is as good as Strop’s and also everyone’s surprised when you actually get it in the zone or you get hitters swinging at pitches outside the zone. Strop also gave up under 20% line-drives on contact, and that’s probably going to come up as well though not much. He gave up way more fly balls than he ever had before, so maybe that’ll be balanced out by an increase in grounders which was below his career-rate. Remains to be seen.
They covered this pretty well at BP Wrigleyville today, as PECOTA is not too hot on what Strop and Rondon are going to put up this year. PECOTA is known to always be on the low end of predictions, so we can hope that’s all it is.
Strop is probably the most bullpen-y guy the Cubs have in the late-innings. You could see him being a tire fire for no reason other than that’s what sometimes happens to relievers. You could see him stringing together a dominant season for basically the same reasons. What you do know is that it’s going to not be a whole lot of fun during some of his outings, as you fear the two walks coming around to score. Then it’s tons of fun when he gets to pump his fist. Strap on in.
Previous Player Previews