The Toronto Blue Jays have been relatively quiet on the pitching front this winter and fans have been anxious for something to come out that would give them some indication as to what direction the rotation will take in 2014. Well, they may have finally got a glimmer of something to latch on to.
In an interview with Sportsnet 590 The Fan, manager John Gibbons spoke about the team’s prospects that are in town, and specifically Marcus Stroman, the team’s number 2 rated prospect. In this linked audio clip, Gibbons speaks very highly of Stroman, including noting that the right-hander could make the team out of Spring Training.
“If he goes down there and dominates, and we don’t add any pitching, he could make the team,” Gibbons said.
That’s high praise for a guy that at 22-years-old has only made 35 professional appearances and 20 starts. However, it speaks to just how impressive the 5’9″ Stroman was at Double-A last season, going 9-5 with a 3.30 ERA and a 4.78 K/BB ratio over 111.2 innings in 2013.
For his part, Marcus Stroman is taking it all in stride, eager to make an impression, but patient enough to realize that his time will come, whether he makes the team out of Spring Training or whether his call comes later in the season.
“It’s also been in the back of my head, ‘This year, this year, this year.’ I’m going down to Florida in like two weeks, because I’m getting antsy already and I want to get out of the cold. It’s a huge year. I’m looking forward to it, and whatever happens, happens, but I’ll definitely be ready and prepared,” Stroman told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
Blue Jays fans are antsy to get a good look at Stroman as well, although they are hesitant to have him start the season with the Blue Jays without a single Triple-A start under his belt. They seem more inclined to hedge their bets by signing a starter like Masahiro Tanaka, Ubaldo Jimenez, or Ervin Santana first, then taking any contributions Stroman can make in 2014 as icing on the cake.
Still, there is a certain amount of intrigue there, and the inkling that Stroman could be ready to burst on the scene in 2014 could mean a lot to Blue Jays fans looking for something positive out of the winter. Hearing it come out of the mouth of John Gibbons makes the prospect of Marcus Stroman sound that much more real, and sometimes the reality of a dream is enough to keep people clinging to it in the first place.