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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Pat Strange

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 8/23/80, Age: 21, Height: 6’5’’, Weight: 240, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Mets - Drafted in the 2nd round of the 1998 draft (Central HS, Springfield, MA). 2000 Stats (St. Lucie - High-A) 10-1, 3.58 ERA, 88 IP, 78 H, 32 BB, 77 K; (Binghamton - AA) 4-3, 4.55 ERA, 55 IP, 62 H, 30 BB, 36 K. 2001 Stats: (Binghamton - AA) 11-6, 4.87 ERA, 153 IP, 171 H, 18 HR, 52 BB, 106 K; (Norfolk - AAA) 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K.
          Despite a track record that shows little improvement (if any), the Mets continue to push Pat Strange closer and closer to New York. Counting the change in season from 2000 to 2001 as a step, Strange has regressed at each of his four stops (up until the excellent start in Norfolk). He has gone from allowing 9.8 baserunners per 9 innings in ’99 to allowing over 13 in 2001. His ERA has increased by 2 runs, he’s walking more hitters, allowing more homers, and striking out fewer batters. All of these data points are danger signs. A portion of Strange’s inconsistencies are certainly related to his mechanics. Strange had a herky-jerky “Kevin Appier-type” delivery when he was drafted. The Mets have tried to smooth out his motion, and they’ve received mixed results. His motion is more economical now, but the results are not quite what they had in mind. Strange was extremely wild (and ineffective) in the Arizona Fall League, so perhaps the new motion will go out the window for 2002. Strange throws a sinking fastball in the low-90’s with a bit of inward movement to lefties, an excellent changeup, and a slider that is still a bit raw, but promising. One concern I have with Strange is that every pitch he throws breaks down and in to lefties, down and away from right-handers. After a while, batters tend to figure this kind of pattern out, and adjust accordingly. Strange might want to dust off his splitter (high-school pitch) in an effort to “change the plane” a bit on hitters, to avoid remaining to predictable.
         The “4-lefty” rotation in New York could use a righty, but I favor Grant Roberts right now as the potential solution. Strange is far too predictable with his pitches, in my opinion, to ever be more than a #3 or #4 starter. Roberts, on the other hand, has ace potential. As far as Strange’s immediate future, I would expect him to return to Norfolk to start the 2002 season, with a chance to move up to New York if he is successful in AAA. My relative pessimism for Strange’s career is apparent, I’m certain, but a return of the splitter (or perhaps just the old motion) could help immensely. As is, Strange is no more than a mid-level starter, with stuff similar to (but not quite as electric as) Dan Reichert. With a split, Strange could be a #2, and a closer comparison to Kevin Appier.


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