Jun 28, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman delivers a pitch against Chicago White Soxat Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Stroman Emerging as the Best Arm in Blue Jays' Rotation

Marcus Stroman is beginning to show us Blue Jays fans exactly why Alex Anthopoulos drafted him with the 22nd overall pick out of Duke University in the 2012 MLB draft. His passion, his confidence, his mentality, all of these attributes continue to improve with every start the 5’9″ right-handed pitcher makes for the Toronto Blue Jays.

With the Blue Jays’ bats struggling, and with Edwin Encarnacion landing on the DL, the starting rotation has been the lone bright spot on this Blue Jays squad that is now 3 games back of the AL East lead behind the Baltimore Orioles. A main reason for the rotation having success is the emergence of 23 year old Marcus Stroman. Stroman began the season with the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons before being called up by the Blue Jays to pitch out of the bullpen on May 3rd where he struggled posting a 12.79 ERA in 6.1 innings pitched.

Stroman was sent back to Buffalo on May 18th to be stretched out as a starter, only to be called back up on the 30th to make a start against the Kansas City Royals, getting the win while pitching 6 innings and only surrendering 1 earned run. From that day Stroman has made a statement: He’s in the Big Leagues and he’s never looking back.

Since becoming a starter with the Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman has posted an impressive ERA of 2.08 in his 7 starts, while striking out 39 in 43.1 innings. He hasn’t had a terrible start yet, and the most earned runs he has given up is 3 in which he still pitched 6 quality innings. In his most previous start, he dominated Oakland Athletics’ hitters, throwing 7 shutout innings while striking out 7, only to lose due to lack of run support.

A Particular moment arose during the 7th inning of the Oakland game when Josh Donaldson had worked Stroman to a 3-0 count with a runner on second and 1 out. Stroman worked his way back to 3-2 after Donaldson fouled-off two pitches before reaching back and throwing a 94 mph heater down the plate that Donaldson swung through. The strikeout was his 7th of the night in which Stroman, pumped on adrenaline, let out a shout of excitement and a fist pump, causing Donaldson to stare Stroman down, only to get the look right back. That moment has defined Marcus Stroman’s short stint with the Blue Jays perfectly, as he has been challenging big-league sluggers, and winning.

As premature as it is to say and although Mark Buehrle is having an all-star season, in my opinion, Marcus Stroman is the Blue Jays’ best starting pitcher. He has proved to all the doubters wrong who said he was too small and wouldn’t reach the big leagues as a starter, and from they way he’s been pitching, he isn’t going anywhere. Many Said he would give up more home runs because of his height and straight path of the ball out of his hand, but as a starter, he’s given up just 3 homers in 43.1 innings.

From playing 2nd base as well as closing for the Duke University Blue Devils, to reaching the majors in less than 2 years and playing in front of an entire country, its safe to say Stroman can handle the pressure. With that being said, and Marcus Stroman emerging as a successful starter in the majors, he is beginning to prove that he is no longer just an “asset”, but a cornerstone in this Toronto Blue Jays rotation for years to come.

Tags: Marcus Stroman Toronto Blue Jays

  • Andrew van Laar

    Well he has sure looked pretty good! Super small sample size but he has really dominated in those starts. I am hoping he can pull off a few more of these!

    • Justin Jay

      How was today’s sample? The one shining light was Stroman only gave up 1 extra base hit. It was the long ball, but still, only 1 extra base hit

      • Andrew van Laar

        todays sample was not good but like you said there was a good spot there lol. I hope the Jays send him down today to take advantage of an extra spot on the bench for the next few games and post all star game.

        • Justin Jay

          It also would help if he missed a start just to take some of the innings load off his young arm. It’s a tough decision since they’re still in the thick of things.

          What’s really unfortunate is the decision of having to be a buyer or seller. If they were sitting pretty like at the end of last month, this would be a much easier decision. Now, the worst thing that could happen is if this team stayed neutral. Beane comes off looking like a genius again because he did the most damage well prior to the trade deadline. The names out there right now are either unattainable or not worth the asking price… and no, that’s not a pun.

  • JaysHopeful

    My concern with Stroman has nothing to do with his over-talked about size or with the quality of his pitches, but with the limited number of innings he has pitched at the minor league (and even university) level. He has only pitched 166.2 minor league innings over 27 starts, and now he’s throwing 100+ pitches every start.

    Is he on a strict pitch limit this season or are AA and John Gibbons just “riding it ’til it bucks yah”? Dude is throwing mid-90s fastballs and heavy sliders and there is the question that his arm is not used to the quantity and intensity. I just want to know that there’s a plan out there for the prevention of Tommy John surgery. Blue Jays track record with young pitchers is not good enough for this not to be a HUGE question/concern.

  • shamefultofan

    i love this guy… he is sharp and hes exciting to watch….to bad they can’t score any runs for him or he would probably win rookie of the year…maybe with the luck they r having with him…it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to soon see if sanchez can maybe do the same thing… one thing i do know is dickey is the worst in the rotation…and maybe they should look to send dickey to the minors and bring up sanchez…

    • Justin Jay

      Stroman had great success at AA and AAA. Sanchez has not. His 5.1 BB/9 will get exposed at MLB level

      • shamefultofan

        never know till we see him at major league level…. what do the jays have to lose…did great his last two or three starts… walks r down and pitching late into games….

        • Justin Jay

          If you say so…

  • Justin Jay

    I think the sample size is to small for a statement like this. He has been impressive, but at one point, so was Esmil Rogers.

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      haha Justin I ought to smack you for comparing Stroman to Esmil Rogers!

      • http://www.jaysjournal.com/ Keegan Matheson

        Cringe. Does this make Sanchez into Josh Towers?

        • Justin Jay

          Josh Towers at least made it to the bigs. I would say Daniel Cabrera is the one to compare with Sanchez.

      • Justin Jay

        Am I hearing crickets tonight? Like I said, the sample size is too small

        • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

          Pitched much better than the stat line… he kept the ball low, had some swings and misses… brutal error by Reyes and some other horrendous D seemed to throw him out of an early rhythm. He did allow the home run but overall it wasn’t a terrible start imo.

  • Jay Blazek

    Stroman’s been very impressive to say the least. Even much more so when one compares his starts to the average starts & levels of performance of all the other new pitchers around the league who have recently come up. If nothing else, you gotta admit as a starter, he is solidly consistent in strikeouts and in keeping the number of hits down & extremely dependable on the mound. It seems when most batters touch the ball off Stroman, they overwhelmingly either pop up or the ball is either kept within the infield or just behind the infield between 1st & 2nd & still very playable. A couple of times it seems the pressure of situations has really gotten more to the coaching, although it’s quite obvious it does not get to Stroman, There is a time or two where he should have remained in the game instead of jumping the gun and pulling him like some pitchers that start to fall apart quickly when the going just starts to get rough. That’s another very impressive thing about him, he can handle the pressure & he keeps on performing solidly and stays mentally in the game & situation. Who can’t use a pitcher like that? Need to at least ride it out once or twice, have some faith, and see what results he gives you. How else are you ever gonna know what all he’s fully capable of contributing to the team at the times when it really counts postseason ? I think with a very few SPECIFIC pitchers, the managers jump to the bullpen way too soon. Yes, sometimes, it’s simply just to try to pad another pitcher’s saves stats(but sometimes then they end up getting rocked), but often it’s more of a lack of faith that their pitcher can prevail unnerved in the situation they are in. I believe Stroman shows he is one of those few that can indeed keep prevailing in such situations. What a major plus that is for any club!!