Pedro Strop has quietly established himself as one of the most consistent setup men in the league, with 2016 marking his third consecutive season with an ERA under 3.00. Despite missing most of August and September following knee surgery, Strop helped anchor the bullpen of the title-winning Cubs, finishing the regular season with a 2.85 ERA and 0.89 WHIP to go along with a 2-2 record and 60 strikeouts in just 47.1 innings pitched, which equates to an elite 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He reached 20 holds for a third straight season, even with his time missed due to injury. Strop dropped his walk rate to 2.9 BB/9 (easily a career-best), down from 3.8 in 2015, while posting a groundball rate just south of 60 percent. Strop figures to remain in a high-leverage role in 2017, potentially handling primary setup duties in front of Wade Davis.
Strop (0-1) recorded his first blown save and loss of the season Saturday against the Pirates. He recorded just one out and allowed two earned runs on a hit and a walk. Strop entered the game with two outs and one on in the seventh inning. He proceeded to walk the first batter he faced and then gave up a three-run homer to Andrew McCutchen. Strop now has a 9.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP this season.
Strop signed an extension with the Cubs, earning $5.85 million in 2018, with a club option of $6.25 million or a $500,000 buyout for 2019, Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald reports. Strop hasn't delivered an ERA above 2.91 or a K/9 below 10.48 in the last three seasons, and he posted a career-best 2.85 BB/9 last year. The right-hander carries closer stuff but ranks third on the Cubs' depth chart for saves behind Aroldis Chapman and Hector Rondon. However, the 31-year-old still carries fantasy value for occasional strikeout help, along with a significant boost in leagues that count holds.
Strop agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Cubs on Saturday, avoiding arbitration, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. Relievers are known for their volatility from year-to-year but Strop has been extremely consistent since joining Chicago, posting sub-3.00 ERAs and 20-plus holds in each of the past three seasons. He has posted double-digit K/9 rates four years running and trimmed his walk rate last year to a career-low 2.9 BB/9. The 31-year-old should once again provide useful ratios and holds in 2017, but Strop will be a long shot to see regular save chances at any point with three arms ahead of him in the pecking order.
Strop (knee) was activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday. As expected, Strop will return to the Cubs bullpen prior to Friday's afternoon tilt with the Cardinals. The right-hander is expected to pitch in five games prior to the start of the postseason, so he figures to get plenty of high-leverage work with the season winding down.
Strop (knee) threw a bullpen session Thursday, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. A groin strain delayed Strop's recovery from left knee surgery, but he cleared a major hurdle Thursday with his first bullpen session. He said it went "fine" and he may get back onto elevated ground for more work this weekend. The Cubs are probably just focused on getting Strop back for the postseason, but it appears he has a chance to return for the final week or so of the regular season.
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