Dan Straily Joins 'From Phenom To The Farm:' Episode 23
“From Phenom to the Farm” releases new episodes every other Tuesday featuring players whose experiences vary across the professional baseball spectrum. Players will discuss their personal experiences going from high school graduation to the life of a professional baseball player.
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By Dan Straily’s junior year of college, it wasn’t unthinkable that he’d wind up being selected in the 2009 draft.
The right-hander had been a steady presence in Marshall’s rotation during his sophomore season, in which he’d started 15 games as a newcomer for the Thundering Herd.
While not unthinkable, considering Straily’s path to Marshall, it was somewhat remarkable.
A product of the Oregon prep ranks, Straily began high school as an overweight kid glued to the bench—his freshman year was spent catching bullpens, throwing batting practice, and getting all of one at-bat. Coming into his sophomore year, he hit a growth spurt, leaned up, and slowly started to earn more time on the diamond.
Once his senior year of high school rolled around, Straily had blossomed enough on the mound to earn a few small scholarship offers, but none from schools that’d suggest he was a future big leaguer. He settled on Division 2 Western Oregon, but quickly after arrival, un-settled on Western Oregon.
“I did not realize that I signed up for 25-hour bus rides, four guys to Motel 6 hotel rooms, terrible food, no laundry—it just was not fun,” Straily said.
He got to work figuring out Plan B, which for Straily ended up being a lot better than Plan A. He followed a summer ball teammate to Huntington, West Virginia and enrolled at Marshall as a walk-on, just looking for a chance to prove himself. He showed enough during fall ball to be put on scholarship heading into the spring semester.
Straily wasn’t content with how far he’d come to that point, and that junior spring, he was angling to make his way into pro ball. During an early season series, he sought out the advice of a scout who was in attendance, asking what he needed to do to get drafted. Straily was expecting a deep, nuanced answer perhaps relating to his repertoire or game-plan on the mound. The scout instead looked at Straily’s physique, which due to a college diet was beginning to resemble a taller version of that high school freshman who was glued to the bench.
“He looked at me and goes, ‘Hey Dan, I’m going to tell you a quick little story—the kid had all the talent in the world, but he couldn’t get out of the buffet line,’” said Straily, recalling the scout’s advice.
The tip wasn’t just for his physical performance—it was for how he presented himself, and how others perceived him. Getting serious about his conditioning would show that Straily took himself and his career seriously.
He took that philosophy to heart, and was drafted by the A’s in the 12th round of the ensuing draft. Even after over 10 years in professional baseball, Straily considers his weight training and condition a crucial part of continuing his success. The kid who couldn’t see the field at a small Oregon high school as a freshman, has to this date tallied over 800 big league innings and is preparing to begin his second season with the KBO’s Lotte Giants.
On our latest episode of ‘From Phenom to the Farm,’ Dan Straily discusses his path from small town Oregon to the big leagues and talks about the ups and downs of his journeyman career through professional baseball.