The Giants have yet to win a series in 2018.
The offense has sputtered, and they’ve scored one run or less in 12 of their 18 games. There have been a few bright spots: Buster Posey is off to a hot start, and Joe Panik is hovering around the .300 mark. But none is brighter than Chris Stratton, who has the makeup to be a solid starter for years to come.
The former 2012 first round draft pick out of Mississippi State has been a godsend for a starting rotation that’s been patched together by Band-Aids.
Stratton, who’s gotten a taste of the big leagues over the last two seasons, is one of the prospects we’ve been waiting for alongside Tyler Beede, Chris Shaw and Christian Arroyo, the latter of whom was traded in the offseason to Tampa in the Evan Longoria deal.
In 2018, Stratton is living up to the hype. The 27-year-old’s curveball has been lethal, but his fastball location has been even more impressive. He’s yet to give up a home run this season, and his earned run average sits at a tidy 2.22, good for 12th in the National League.
On Wednesday night in Arizona, Stratton pitched into the eighth and made Giant-killer Paul Goldschmidt look absolutely silly in the first and fourth innings. He froze the Diamondbacks’ cleanup hitter with a front door curveball and, three innings later, struck out Goldschmidt with a perfectly located fastball.
Manager Bruce Bochy’s trust is not easily won, but after Wednesday’s stellar performance, Bochy said flat-out that Stratton is now “one of our guys.”
Stifling the San Diego Padres is one thing, and as impressive as his seven innings of one-hit ball was at Petco Park, what he did at Chase Field raised eyebrows across the league. Many wondered if Stratton would even be part of the rotation coming out of Spring Training. Now, we all look foolish for even pondering the scenario.
The big question now is where Stratton slots into a healthy Giants rotation. Should he be the No. 3 guy in the rotation once Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija settle back into their roles?
Stratton’s looks filthier than that of both Johnny Cueto and Ty Blach. He’s a mainstay, no doubt, and is easily the story of the young 2018 season. In the midst of a 10-game road trip, where the Giants’ bats have been missing in action, Stratton has blossomed and thrived with his opportunity.
The kid has the look of a keeper.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from noon to 3 p.m. on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.