The Oakland Athletics have long had one of the best systems for producing great pitching talent. Just look at the names: Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Huston Street, Trevor Cahill, Andrew Baily and now...Dan Straily.
Never heard of him? You will.
Straily began the 2012 season playing for the Double-A Midland Rockhounds where he put together a resume that included 85 innings pitched, 108 strikeouts and a 3.38 earned-run average.
At just 23 years old, Straily leads all of minor league baseball in strikeouts with 175 in 22 starts between Triple-A and Double-A ball. Not impressed? He also has an ERA of 2.60, which includes a 1.36 ERA for the Cats.
What's most impressive about Mr. Straily's accomplishments? He pretty much came out of nowhere.
After a lackluster career at Marshall University, in which he averaged about seven strikeouts and four walks per every nine winnings of work, Oakland selected Straily in the 24th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
Straily was not considered one of the top 100 minor league prospects coming into the 2012 season. In fact, most baseball scouting services didn't even consider Straily one of the top 30 prospects for his own team. Amazing what a little hard work, training and practice can achieve.
With his meteoric rise through the minor league ranks and a pitch selection that has vastly improved from his college days, Straily has just been asked to join the A's at the Major League level. And by the end of the season, it's a good bet that we will see him in the regular rotation for the green, gold and white.
If you've never heard of Straily, you're not alone. But with the way he's handled call promotions in 2011 and 2012, he sure seems to have the tools to be the next great Oakland pitcher.
So you may want to get acquainted with him now.