Listen to the headline! Not enough people are paying attention to Dan Straily. He's owned in 36 percent of CBS leagues and just 3.5 percent at ESPN. In his 23 innings and four starts in the majors, the right-hander has struck out 20 batters against five walks, and owns a 3.42 ERA.
His sample goes back further than just those games, though. Straily was leading professional baseball in strikeouts at the time of his call-up, and his performance at Triple-A during a breakout campaign was so ridiculously good that it was basically obvious he would find himself in Oakland at some point in August. That's a big step for someone who was a total unknown beforehand:
Straily wasn't a top-100 prospect heading into 2012. In fact, he didn't within Oakland's top 30according to Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus's Kevin Goldstein didn't rank him in his top 20, nor as his sleeper pick. This isn't to pick on either outlet -- especially Goldstein, who correctly identified current rotation member A.J. Griffin as a sleeper prospect -- but is being pointed out to you for a reason: so you can be properly prepared for how out of nowhere Straily's 2012 has been.
The year began at Double-A, where he punched out 108 batters in 85 frames. He continued that torrid pace at Triple-A, whiffing 82 in 66 innings, and while he has struck out just 7.6 per nine to begin his big-league career, that's not bad for his third level -- and first MLB stop -- of the year.
Straily is giving up too many homers right now, with six in four games, but four of those came in one start, his second career outing, against the powerful Angels' lineup. It's not as if he has given up a homer each time out, continually making mistakes. That's not to excuse that he has things to learn, because that, plus his latest start, in which he gave up a pair of homers, is proof that's true. But there's a whole lot to like here, and in many leagues, Straily isn't part of the final push to first place. Fix that, especially if you're in a league with keepers where he's somehow still available.