Mississippi State RHP Chris Stratton is the latest name associated with the Cincinnati Reds in relation to Monday, June 4, and the first round of the MLB Draft.
The Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year has been dominant since a 17-strikeout performance against LSU in mid-March. The native of Tupelo, Miss., has an 11-1 record with a 2.21 earned run average. In 102 innings, Stratton has struck out 123, walked 21 and allowed 78 hits, including four home runs. Foes are batting .211. His 16 games include 11 starts. Stratton has one shutout and one save.
Stratton (6-foot-3, 198 pounds) went 10-10 with a 5.25 ERA his first two seasons, including 5-3, 5.29 as a freshman and 5-7, 5.21 as a sophomore. He flashes three above average pitches -- a late-tailing fastball that sits 91 to 93 mph and has touched 95; a slider that he effectively uses as a chase pitch or for strikes; and a solid-average curtve. Some scouts grade the slider "plus" and the curve "above average."
Stratton features slightly above average command. Stratton improved his poise and feel for pitching this season, partially a result of success last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he went 1-1 with a 2.18 ERA. Undrafted out of high school, Stratton turns 22 in August, so he's a bit older than most juniors. He is an academic All-SEC selection and a high character individual. He is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (shamless plug). Stratton majors in Kinesiology.