After a car crash this winter in the Dominican Republic rattled him and left him with a minor injury, Chicago Cubs’ right-hander Pedro Strop is in camp, ready to contribute in the upcoming 2015 season.
A recent MLB.com article detailed the accident, saying that Strop’s convertible was making a right-hand turn at “a T-intersection when he was rear-ended by someone driving a Range Rover.” The report goes on to detail the result of the accident – the convertible being pushed into a wall and ended up totaled.
Despite the damage to the vehicle, Strop had just a scratch on his left elbow – something he attributed to his wearing of a seatbelt.
"“In the Dominican, nobody wears seat belts. Maybe because here [in the U.S.] every time I drive, I do it. I’m used to it. In the Dominican, I don’t think people [use them]. They’re starting to get really strict there.”"
The accident, which took place in November, caused chaos on the Internet, with multiple reports indicating that Strop was seriously injured – or even dying – when, in reality, he was already back at home.
Last season with the Cubs, Strop emerged as one of the most dominant set-up men in the National League, appearing in 65 games for Chicago, pitching to a career-best 2.21 ERA under pitching coach Chris Bosio, who has helped breathe life back into the right-hander’s career.
Acquired from the Baltimore Orioles along with starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, Strop has been very good since coming to Chicago back in 2013. Over 102 appearances with the Cubs, the hard-throwing reliever has compiled a 2.44 earned run average to go along with a 10.6 SO/9 mark.
Heading into 2015, he has some competition for the team’s top right-handed relief slot after the club signed former St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte to a one-year deal this offseason.
That being said, Strop and Motte – if healthy – could give the Cubs one of the most commandeering late-inning duos in all of baseball; and that’s not even mentioning closer Hector Rondon, who saved a career-high 29 games in 2014.
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After struggling early on in his career as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, Strop has figured it all out in a season-and-a-half on the North Side of Chicago. After a close-call this winter, he appears to be set to continue his ascent to the top of the reliever ranks.
It’s not that the’s among the Craig Kimbrel‘s of the game yet – but after being considered a low-risk acquisition two years ago, Pedro Strop has all the makings of an elite big league reliever. For the first time since joining the Cubs, however, the pressure will be on to win.
Only time will tell if the right-hander is up for the pressure and the challenge of winning – and competing – on a daily basis. But if his recent performance is telling of anything, Strop is set to lead this relief corps to a winning season in 2015.