HUNTER STRICKLAND
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
  Born: September 24, 1988
Height: 6′ 5″
Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 18th Round, 564nd Overall, 2007
How Acquired: Trade (for Adam LaRoche)
High School: Pike County HS (Zebulon, GA)
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Strickland came along with SS Argenis Diaz from the Red Sox in exchange for Adam LaRoche.  When he was acquired he generally threw in the upper-80s to low-90s, although he reached 94 in the last two games before the trade.  He obviously does not have a swing-and-miss secondary pitch, as shown by his very low K rate.  His strength instead is his ability to locate his fastball.  Although he was not rated by Baseball America among Boston’s top 30 prospects coming into 2009, the Red Sox considered him a sleeper prospect.  The Pirates consider him athletic and no doubt like his size; scouts are fascinated by RHPs who are 6’4″ and above.

2007
R:  0-2-0, 6.04 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 25.1 IP, 1.4 BB/9, 7.8 K/9

Struggled in his GCL debut, with opponents hitting .357 against him.

2008
A-:  5-3-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 70.2 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 7.5 K/9

Strickland improved in the New York-Penn League, including a much-reduced opponents’ BA of .244.  He walked very few hitters and had a solid K rate.

2009
A (Bos):  5-4-1, 3.35 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 83.1 IP, 1.4 BB/9, 5.5 K/9
A (Pgh):  4-2-0, 3.77 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 43 IP, 1.3 BB/9, 4.8 K/9

Continued along the same lines in low A with Boston, although his K rate dropped sharply.  He joined the West Virginia rotation after the trade and got off to a spectacular start, combining with Diego Moreno on no-hitter.  After that, he was consistently solid, never allowing more than three earned runs except for one meltdown in which he allowed eight over four innings.  As advertised, he didn’t walk or fan many.  His velocity was indeed up to 94 or so, making him seem like a more intriguing prospect.

2010
A:  0-4-0, 5.86 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 43 IP, 1.7 BB/9, 3.1 K/9
A+:  2-1-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 14 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 6.4 K/9

Surprisingly, Strickland opened 2010 back in West Virginia rotation.  He got consistently bombed over eight starts, but was promoted anyway to fill an opening.  At Bradenton, he pitched well in two relief appearances and got bombed in two starts.  He then went on DL with an elbow strain and didn’t return.

2011
Did not play

Was on the opening day roster for Bradenton, but missed the entire season due to shoulder problems.  He tried to rehab the shoulder, but ended up having rotator cuff surgery in August.

2012
A+:  2-2-0, 2.98 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 45.1 IP, 1.6 BB/9, 5.0 K/9
AA:  2-2-2, 4.46 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 42.1 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

It seems likely that Strickland was hurt all along in 2010, which would explain the bad performance.  He was healthy in camp in 2012 and was throwing 90-94, with good command and an improving slider and change.  He opened the season in the Bradenton rotation and started nine games, with one relief appearance.  He got good results, although with a low K rate.  In June the Pirates moved him up to Altoona, where he pitched in relief the rest of the year.  His K rate improved a little, but opponents hit .309 against him.  He had trouble with left-handed batters, who pummeled him for a .375 average.

Regardless of how much projection scouts believe Strickland has, so far he’s been very hittable.  He was eligible for the Rule 5 draft and, in something of a surprise, the Pirates added him to the 40-man roster.  The Pirates then added to the surprise by designating him for assignment at the end of spring training to make roster room for Jonathan Sanchez the aging Brandon Inge.  Hopefully, Strickland will clear waivers.  He could still succeed as a reliever, a role in which he has limited experience.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2013: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $123,250
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2014
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2011
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/12
Options Remaining: 2 (USED:  2013)
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 8, 2007: Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 18th round, 564th overall pick; signed on June 26.
July 22, 2009: Acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Boston Red Sox along with Argenis Diaz in exchange for Adam LaRoche.
November 20, 2012: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
March 27, 2013: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.