Kansas City Royals rookie Matt Strahm burst on the scene last season, dominating as a reliever in the last two months of 2016. What can Royals fans look forward to this season, and beyond?
After the KC Royals picked him in the 21st round out of Neosho County Community College in 2012, Matt Strahm has steadily put himself on the prospect radar. In the past couple of years, Strahm has added weight to his frame, velocity to his pitches, and has tweaked his delivery. Strahm found himself in AA to start out 2016, performing pretty admirably. Then because of an innings limit, Strahm was moved to the bullpen to July, preparing for a September call-up. But that call a bit earlier. A Wade Davis DL stint in late July sent Strahm to Kansas City to get his first taste of the bigs at age 24. And all he did was impress.
Since being developed by the Kansas City Royals, Strahm has always had a pretty good arsenal of pitches. A low to mid-90 fastball, great mid to upper-70 curveball, decent changeup, all three pitches with good movement. This led him to excel along the way in developing in the minors. Now he got to work with Dave Eiland. In his time with the Royals last year, Strahm was reaching upper 90s with his fastball and using his curveball a lot more.
He didn’t throw his changeup and slider much last year. How he attacked major league hitters was going up with a great elevating, hard fastball, and then going down with one the lowest elevating curveballs in the majors last year. This led to dominant work out of the bullpen. Strahm was pitching at an historic rate for a first-year pitcher.
- Among 3,035 rookie pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched since 1980, Strahm had the 10th best FIP and 4th best ERA
- Among those pitchers, only 2.5% allowed 0 home runs. Strahm allowed 0 home runs last year.
- Out of 1,169 pitchers with at least 20 innings since 2010, Strahm has the 8th best fastball, curveball value, according to Fangraphs. Higher than star relievers such as Kenley Jansen, Koji Uehara, Aroldis Chapman, and Craig Kimbrel.
- Among those 1,169 pitchers, Strahm has the 16th best K/9.