Blue Jays: A closer look at Stroman, the ace

May 13, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 23, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) is congratulated by teammates right fielder Jose Bautista (right) and catcher Russell Martin (left) after throwing a complete game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /

Take away the first half 2016 and what do you get?

As it stands, Marcus Stroman has a very impressive resume for a young pitcher of just 26 years old. He’s a 27-18 for his career across 63 starts, spanning from his debut in 2014 until the present day. His career ERA is 3.85, WHIP is 1.24 and he’s thrown 413 career innings, surpassing the 200 mark last season for the first time, totalling 204.

For as good as things look with a wide angle, Stroman was struggling pretty significantly in the first half of last season, so much so that the lustre started to come off his star by the All-Star break. With the emergence of Aaron Sanchez as a starter, and the unexpected dominance of J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada, Stroman was bordering on an afterthought at one point, something that seemed incomprehensible at the beginning of the campaign.

Across 18 starts, the U.S. born right-hander was 7-4, which sounds great, but his ERA had ballooned to 4.89 and his WHIP was up to 1.328, both much higher than his career norms. Fortunately for Stroman, the club was producing on offence when he toed the rubber, but his struggles were evident, both in the stats and on his face.

It didn’t last however, as he rebounded to post a 3.68 ERA across 14 starts in the second half, a WHIP of 1.239, and was a key piece of the playoff rotation as well.

Stroman was entering his first full season after having come back from knee surgery, and I honestly believe many people discounted the effect it had on his performance in the first half. Take away those 18 starts, and Stroman’s career ERA lowers from 3.85, down to 3.36. That’s a significant difference, and is nearly identical to the 3.33 ERA he is sporting through his first 8 starts this season.

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