Newly signed Diamondbacks righty Dan Straily chatted with The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan at length about his decision to sign with Arizona and his goals of reestablishing himself as a quality big league starter after a strong two-year run in the Korea Baseball Organization. Straily indicated that he had multiple offers but chose to sign with the D-backs for several reasons, including a good opportunity to earn a roster spot out of the gate and relative proximity (a two-hour flight) to his family’s home in Oregon. He candidly acknowledged that he went to South Korea in need of major improvement — “I didn’t end up in Korea because I was ready to be in the major leagues at the time” — and discussed changes he’s made to his repertoire, including pitch grips, pitch shapes, and an entirely new pitch.
More broadly, fans will want to check out the whole Q&A to get a sense of Straily’s experiences pitching in a foreign league (and of being in the midst of KBO Spring Training when the pandemic broke out), his relationship with incoming pitching coach Brent Strom and the finer details of the work he’s put in to rebuild his career. Notably, Straily added that he considered waiting until the lockout ended to pursue a Major League contract but ultimately chose a minor league opportunity that allowed him to get rolling as quickly as possible. “We felt like it was time for me to get to work,” said Straily.
For those who missed it, Straily also chatted with MLBTR readers back in December. Within, Straily discussed the difference between pitching in the KBO and in MLB, recalled come key early-career advice from notable teammates, and shared plenty of memories from his time in the Majors and in South Korea.
A few more notes on the D-backs…
- Buchanan also passes along a pair of updates on some of the system’s top prospects (Twitter link). Outfielder Corbin Carroll is back to 100 percent after last year’s season-ending shoulder surgery. The 21-year-old was the No. 16 overall pick in 2019 and is widely regarded as one of the sport’s top 50 overall prospects, even after his 2021 injury. Carroll sustained the injury on a swing that resulted in a home run in one of the just seven games he played with the Snakes’ High-A affiliate last season. He hasn’t had much of a look in the pros thanks to that surgery and the wiped-out 2020 minor league season, but Carroll owns a .316/.428/.542 batting line with four home runs, ten doubles, nine triples and 21 stolen bases (in 23 tries) through his first 215 professional plate appearances, dating back to 2019. He’s viewed as a possible long-term option in center field for the D-backs, though he has a good bit of development left after effectively missing two full years’ worth of reps in 2020-21.
- Also on the mend from shoulder surgery is 2021 top draft selection Jordan Lawlar. The touted young shortstop and No. 6 overall pick sustained a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder not long after signing, limiting his professional debut to just two games with the D-backs’ Rookie-level affiliate. Lawlar, 19, is about a month behind Carroll in his rehab process, per Buchanan, and has not yet been cleared for batting practice. Like Carroll, Lawlar is a consensus top prospect, albeit one who has a bit more variance in terms of scouting reports on his future (which is perhaps to be expected given his lack of pro experience). Keith Law ranked Lawlar No. 31 among MLB prospects, noting that he had the “best package of tools” in the 2021 draft and adding that with Lawlar’s athleticism, speed, arm strength and power potential, he could be in the mix for the sport’s top overall prospect next year.
- Josh Barfield spoke with Bill Ladson of MLB.com to discuss his journey from big league infielder, to scout, to his current role as Diamondbacks director of player development. Barfield “never saw [himself] getting into this side of the game” but now relishes his player development role and the challenges it presents. Citing mentors like former D-backs GM Dave Stewart, current GM Mike Hazen and his own predecessor Mike Bell, who tragically passed away last spring after a battle with kidney cancer, Barfield discussed how his love for player development and baseball operations has grown. His ultimate goal has now shifted from his early days as a scout, as he told Ladson he has his sights set on eventually becoming a general manager. While Barfield acknowledged that “there’s not too many of those jobs,” his interactions with Hazen and Stewart, as well as his “ultra-competitive” nature are now driving that ambition.
With an xFIP of 4.94 and FIP 0f 5.05 he’s been very lucky with his current ERA. Barely throws 90 mph and too slider dependant. Not favorable
Which is why he went to South Korea with “things to work on” (his words) and revamped the majority of his pitch arsenal. Not saying it’s likely that he’ll come back dominant, of course, but you’re pointing to trends that are not only derived from an outdated selection of pitches but were the driving factor behind Strailiy implementing the changes he made.
Merrill Kelly, Miles Mikolas, Chris Flexen, Colby Lewis and plenty of others have followed this path with solid results. It’ll be fun to see whether Straily can do the same.
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
I’m very excited to see how Straily does. It was pretty cool to do that live chat and talk with him about how he wanted to come back and then see him sign with an MLB club. I’m guessing that pretty much everyone who got to take part in that chat will be rooting for him to succeed. He’s an easy guy to like and a hard guy to root against. Shea Hillenbrand was a little different. I’m guessing half the people really liked him and the other half really didn’t.
Tick Tock Clock
Hello Big Bat here. I am going to announce my name change soon, maybe next week
Please, Hammer. Don't hurt 'em.
Didn’t you already announce it? I think the only part you’re missing is nobody cares.
The thing about FIP is that no pitcher ever takes the mound without fielders.
Superstar Prospect Wander Javier
But they don’t always take the mound with good fielders
FIP isn’t completely defense independent because it’s still calculated using the number of outs a pitcher gets. Good defenses will get more outs than bad. Just remember the limitations of each stat when comparing.
If they have another 5-40 stretch then they should relocate immediately.
If the DBACKS win 50 games this year, I’ll be shocked, amazing how bad they are, year after year
Bad shortened 2020 season and bad in 2021
NOT bad before that, .500 or better, including playoff team
yeah, they were a bottom handful team over 200 games just because it was a fluke.
Jack Buckley. The Dbacks are so far from a bad team year after year, your statement is ridiculous.
Dbacks have been in existence 24 years. 2/3 of those years, they have finished at or above .500. 1/4 of those years they have been in the playoffs. They won the World Series in only their 4th year of existence. They have been a bad team only 2 years out of 24. From 2015-2019 they were at or above .500 every year.
To call that a bad team year after year is patently absurd.
Dbacks OF in 2023
Corbin Carroll CF
Alek Thomas LF
Kristian Robinson RF
Jake McCarthy 4th OF
I’ll be pleasantly surprised if Robinson is an everyday RF by 2023.
I’d like to see it, personally. He shouldn’t have done what he did obviously, but it genuinely sounded more like a mental health crisis than a crime. I’m rooting for the guy.
Dbacks really need to hit on the Lawlar selection as well as the player they’ll likely take 2nd overall in the upcoming draft if they want to rebuild a competitive team in 2-3 years.
freeland1787. Take a close look at the Dbacks farm system and you might want to revise your post.
Dbacks farm system is ranked in Top 4/5 right now, with 7 Top 100 prospects (most in the majors)! Project 2 of those7 will be in the Top 5 in 2023. This does not include Kristian Robinson who was dropped from the Top 100 when he had his legal problems.
17 of the Dbacks Top 30 prospects have an ETA to the majors of 2021 or 2022, including 8 pitchers!
7 rookies from the farm system were on the 2021 team.
The Dbacks are not in the typical position of a “bad” team needing to build up a Farm System to help them compete in 3-4 years. The Farm system is already built up and already producing Major Leaguers.
The Dbacks are a good, young team getting deeper and stronger this year. They need to develop this young talent, but they are moving very fast toward being competitive, even in the ultra strong NLW.
yeah, I think they can afford to miss on both actually. while it’s going to be a few years, the OF and SP groups are very interesting.
Bearded Texas Hulk
I remember thinking JB was going to be a solid reg for a decade.
Josh Barfield is one of the nicest and most dedicated persons coming up in baseball. He was a real treat when he was in SD. Good luck to him!