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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Mar 22, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USA pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) raises the championship trophy following the 8-0 victory against Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USA pitcher Marcus Stroman (6) raises the championship trophy following the 8-0 victory against Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

What makes an ace?

The whole debate about who is an ace and who is not is always a little silly, but let’s face it, us baseball types love to debate this sort of thing. The optimistic Blue Jays fan (me) could make the argument that the Blue Jays have as many as 4 arms capable of performing as an “ace” in their rotation, with the presence of Estrada, Happ, and Aaron Sanchez.

If you type “what makes a pitcher an ace in baseball?” into Google (I know, I’m high tech), it’ll tell you that an ace is the best pitcher on a given team. However, if you used that logic then that means last year’s Cy Young Award winner in Rick Porcello wouldn’t hold that title, nor would Red Sox teammate David Price (when healthy) because of the presence of Chris Sale and his freaky abilities.

Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling would have had quite the argument in the early 2000’s, and the debate would have been endless between Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee in the latter part of the decade in Philadelphia. I could list dozens more, but those are the examples that immediately jumped to my mind. That’s why the argument is flawed to me, because of course there can be more than one pitcher worthy of the title on the same staff. Some teams are spoiled that way.

Stroman has performed at ace-like levels before, but perhaps never more so than when he started for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic this spring. The tournament turned out to be a great showcase for the talented pitcher, and an opportunity to show what he’s capable of in the a big game on the world stage.

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