Name: Pedro Strop
Position: Relief Pitcher
DOB: June 13, 1985
Acquired: 2008 Minor League free agent
Right-hander Pedro Strop is an intriguing relief prospect with borderline plus-plus velocity and two offspeed pitches capable of missing bats. But he didn't begin his professional career on the mound.
The Dominican Republic native signed his first contract with the Colorado Rockies in 2002––as an athletic, strong-armed shortstop prospect.
Strop played three full seasons––from '03 to '05––as a shortstop in the Rockies organization. He never took off as a hitter, however, and batted just .236/.261/.341 with six walks and 86 strikeouts at short-season Tri-City in 2005.
As Strop failed to show much progress with the bat, Colorado chose to take advantage of the prospect's arm strength by moving him to the mound in '06.
Strop immediately produced promising results. Splitting his first season as a pitcher between rookie-level Casper and Single-A Asheville, he recorded 35 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. He pitched the following season at Single-A Modesto, where he logged a 4.28 ERA and fanned 75 in 54.2 innings.
The impressive performance and power arsenal earned Strop a spot on the Rockies' 40-man roster following the '07 season, as the club looked to protect its fast-rising prospect from the Rule 5 Draft.
Strop appeared to be on the fast-track to the majors, but a stress fracture in his right elbow ended his 2008 season after only seven appearances with Double-A Tulsa. The Rockies designated him for assignment on September 12 and released him on September 19.
Colorado surely expected to keep Strop in the organization by re-signing him to a minor league deal. But the Rangers quickly swooped in and inked the free agent prospect to a minor league contract worth a reported $90,000.
The smooth work by the Rangers' front office netted the club a strong relief prospect. By the end of the 2009 campaign, Strop had logged big league time in Arlington.
Strop's 2009 season was inconsistent on the whole. He spent most of the year at Double-A Frisco, where he posted a 4.38 ERA in 51.1 innings but improved as the season progressed.
The 25-year-old struggled in his limited time with the Rangers last season, giving up 12 runs on 17 hits and 11 walks in only 10.2 frames. Still, Strop made plenty of progress at the minor league level.
Working as the Triple-A Oklahoma City closer in 2010, Strop notched 13 saves and a 1.91 ERA. He totaled 42.1 innings, giving up 32 hits while walking 14 and striking out 57.
Also See: Rangers Minor League Notes (March 4, 2010)
Rangers Minor League Notes (March 9, 2010)
Rangers Minor League Notes (March 12, 2010)
Rangers Minor League Notes (March 17, 2010)
Rangers Minor League Notes (April 8, 2010)
Rangers Minor League Notes (June 30, 2010)
Top Prospects, Top Tools (January 14, 2011)
Repertoire: Fastball, Splitter, Slider.
Fastball: Strop's max-effort delivery and quick arm produce a fastball that ranges between 93-98 mph, sitting right around 95 on average. With heavy late movement, the pitch is difficult for hitters to square up when it's commanded down in the zone. Strop flashed good command at Triple-A last season, but he was both erratic and hittable during his 10.2 innings with the Rangers. He often fell behind in counts and left his fastball up in the zone. For much of last season, Strop's fastball command made progress and showed solid-average potential, but he still must prove he can locate the pitch in the majors.
Other Pitches: Both of Strop's secondary offerings––a hard splitter, slider combination––have the potential to be big-league strikeout pitches. His most reliable offspeed pitch is a power splitter that sits in the mid-80s and reaches up to 90 mph at times. The offering complements his fastball well, as it's thrown on a similar plane and has sharp, late diving action. The pitch is effective against both left- and right-handed batters.
Strop's low-to-mid 80s slider is a solid-average pitch with plus potential, featuring a sharp break with plenty of tilt. He struggles to command the pitch within the strike zone at times. The overpowering mix helped him limit fellow Triple-A righties to a .178/.213/.256 slash line with a 38% strikeout rate last season.
Projection: Strop has the raw ability to become a late-inning reliever with legitimate swing-and-miss stuff. He'll need to continue refining his mechanics, which were an issue during last season's big league stint. Strop has a tendency to rush his delivery, and his arm slot can also be inconsistent.
The reliever showed improvement at Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2010, despite his struggles in Arlington. Because Strop is a good athlete, there's no physical reason that he shouldn't eventually be able to repeat his mechanics. Overall, Strop is a bit of a boom-or-bust prospect. If things fall into place, he could be dominant. If not, he may never earn a full-time big league role.
2011 Outlook: As a member of the Rangers' 40-man roster, Strop will attend big league camp and compete for a job in the opening-day bullpen. But because Strop has options remaining and there aren't many bullpen spots up for grabs, he will most likely begin the season at Triple-A Round Rock. Regardless, Strop will see major league action at some point this season, and he'll get another opportunity to earn a more permanent spot on the Rangers' roster.
|Oklahoma City (AAA)||1-1||12.0||13||4||13||7.82|
|2010||Oklahoma City (AAA)||1-2||42.1||32||14||57||1.91|
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