Blue Jays: Good, Bad and Ugly- Marcus Stroman

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 25: Marcus Stroman
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 25: Marcus Stroman /

Jays Journal takes a look back at 2017 and the good, bad and ugly of each individual performance from the roster. Today we look into the achievements of Jays starting ace Marcus Stroman. While there are whispers that Stroman could become the new face of the franchise, this article will dive into his performance on the field to see if it’s helped or hindered him in obtaining that.

With the consensus that this past season was a bit of a disappointment (that’s saying it lightly), there have been a few gems that have stood out amongst the rubble. Marcus Stroman has been one of these bright lights. Since becoming a Blue Jay, Stroman has proven to be a confident, energized and passionate player regardless of what the score is. In the four years he’s been in the big leagues, his record stands at 37 – 25 with an overall ERA of 3.61.

He’s not only a great pitcher but one that excels defensively; this was recently recognized as Marcus was awarded the 2017 Gold Glove for fielding excellence on the mound – a great feat considering other contenders included Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox) and Alex Cobb (Tampa Bay Rays).

The Good

The 26-year-old started the 2017 season on April 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays where he went 6 1/3 innings, striking out five, allowing one earned run and obtaining his first win of the season. He proceeded to have a strong April and May with two complete games, 56 SO’s and a record of 6 – 2 to show for it. Starting the season with these positive and strong performances showed the fans and pundits alike that Stroman was an athlete to be taken seriously; one that gives his all with every appearance in the game.

Stroman closed the season with great numbers, pitching in 33 games, achieving an ERA of 3.09,  winning 13 games and losing nine. He struck out 164 players, pitched over 200 innings (201), had a WHIP of 1.308 and gave up 21 home runs.  While the Jays saw many of their pitchers on the DL (Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Roberto Osuna and J.P. Howell among others), Stroman was not only healthy enough to pitch regularly but was also able to stay in those games for long stretches.  Of the 33 games he pitched, Marcus threw 5 innings or more in 27 of them (82%).

The Bad & Ugly

While some consider confidence to be an integral part of the game, too much confidence can sometimes turn into arrogance and cockiness. Critics and fans all agree that Stroman pitches with his heart on his sleeve (his HDMH trademark stands for “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart!”) but sometimes his emotions get the best of him, as they do for many of us. Comments, certain looks, and body language have gotten him in trouble at one time or another with opposing teams, broadcasters, and umpires.

No player wants to be regarded as the difficult one on the team so Stroman will have to work on centering his frustrations and disagreements when things don’t go his way.  On the positive, many say this comes with age, experience, and maturity; if that’s the case then Stroman is on his way to achieving this.

Social media is something many of us use on a daily basis and ballplayers are no exception.  Marcus is extremely active on his social media accounts and enjoys tweeting as a main form of this medium.  Sometimes this can get the better of him – such as when he’s tweeting former Jays catcher, JP Arencibia, about working at Sportsnet with the hashtag “#outwiththeoldinwiththenew”, implying current Sportsnet broadcaster Gregg Zaun be shown the door while welcoming Arencibia into the fold. Just like his emotions, this will be an area that Stroman will need to watch out for and not let himself get caught up with the haters, critics, and trolls online.

Projecting 2018

If Stroman stays healthy, as he did for most of the season, we can expect more great, strong and solid outings. Marcus is a competitor, a fighter and all around tough athlete whom would make any player proud to be on his team. With the news that the Jays are not picking up the mutual option in Jose Bautista’s contract for 2018, maybe this is the time that Marcus becomes the face of the franchise. The Jays will need a leader for 2018 and Stroman has proven himself to be a contender as seen in his enthusiasm, dedication, and passion for the game.