There is no doubting the excitement the Toronto Blue Jays are feeling over the future of right-hander Marcus Stroman right now. It’s hard not to get excited when your 23-year-old rookie tosses a 93-pitch, 3-hit shut-out in September, especially when he is already 38 innings above his single-season high.
That stellar performance netted Stroman his 10th Major League victory in 23 appearances (18 starts), making him the third Blue Jays pitcher to cross the double-digit threshold in 2014. It also dropped Stroman’s ERA to a solid 3.53, his FIP to 2.87, and raised his GB% to a very handy 55.0%.
Needless to say, Marcus Stroman has become everything the Blue Jays were hoping he would be, and will be fairly simple to pencil in near the top of the rotation in 2015. The only real question left for Stroman is where he’ll finish up in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
In looking over the numbers, there is no chance that Stroman takes home the hardware this year. This isn’t a knock on Marcus Stroman at all. Rather it is just the reality of the situation in that Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu is the hands-down, runaway winner of the American League Rookie of the Year. You don’t put yourself into MVP consideration with a campaign of .317/.377/.591 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI and not receive your just deserts.
However, Stroman does have a claim to a top five spot at the very least, and in my calculations, could actually challenge for the second spot, battling it out with Los Angeles Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker.
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As you can see, Shoemaker has the decided lead in victories, with a very decent 14 wins. However, we all know that wins don’t necessarily mean everything for a pitcher, especially when you account for the fact that two of Shoemaker’s wins have come in relief. That said, it could be argued that Shoemaker’s wins have meant a tremendous amount for the Angels and their impeccable run in the second half of the season.
That brings us to ERA and FIP. Shoemaker has an edge one the former whereas Stroman is markedly better on the latter. Shoemaker’s ERA lead is mostly due to the fact that he has only thrown one stinker of a game, surrendering 8 earned runs against Kansas City on June 27th. On the other side Stroman’s done a much better job of controlling the outcome of his actions, notably by using his ability to keep the ball on the ground in order to limit home runs, a key difference between Shoemaker and Stroman when calculating Fielder Independent Pitching.
Both pitchers would easily be incurring a heavy debate for Rookie of the Year if not for the presence of Jose Abreu. Both have been outstanding for teams that badly needed them to step up and be the anchor. With 19 games remaining for both teams, it could be an interesting heat coming down the final stretch.
With that said, I’d give the early nod to Shoemaker right now. He’s just been a bit more consistent throughout the season thus far. However, there is no knocking what Marcus Stroman has given the Blue Jays and I’d take the 3rd place finish with great pride and respect. Like Shoemaker, Stroman’s presence in the rotation has helped keep the team in the hunt, something that shouldn’t be dismissed either.
Regardless, it has been a great rookie season for Marcus Stroman, and his future is very bright indeed.