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.