6) Marcus Stroman (RHP) 1st round, 22nd overall – 2012 – 5/1/1991 (21)

Year Age Tm Lg Lev G BF IP ERA FIP SIERA GB% BABIP K% BB%
2012 21.08 New Hampshire EAS AA 8 38 8 3.38 5.08 4.11 58.3% 0.304 21.1% 15.8%
2012 21.08 Vancouver NOR A- 7 45 11.3 3.18 1.35 2.1 48.1% 0.296 33.3% 6.7%
2012 21.08 MiLB Total 0 0 15 83 19.3 3.26 2.89 3.22 52.9% 0.3 27.7% 10.8%
0 0 MiLB Total 0 0 15 83 19.3 3.26 2.89 3.22 52.9% 0.3 27.7% 10.8%

Source: MinorLeagueCentral.com

Marcus Stroman was among the last of the Jays 2012 draft picks to sign a contract but would soon find himself in the Northwest League. There were rumours that the Jays would offer to quickly promote Stroman through the minor leagues in time for a possible promotion in September but his suspension for testing positive for Methylhexaneamine (a banned stimulant that he claims he ingested in an over-the-counter supplement). Though almost assuredly an accidental indiscretion, the positive test will now inevitably raise questions about his make-up.

In his final season at Duke, Stroman started 14 games with a 2.39 ERA, 26 BB, and 136 K in 98 innings. His 12.49 K/9 was third in all of college in 2012. His results at Vancouver were equally as impressive as Stroman struck out a third of the batters he face in his 11 1/3 innings of work before being promoted to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern League (AA). Once in AA, Stroman’s walk rate spiked while his K rate dropped in just 8 innings before his 50-game suspension. It would have been interesting to see if he would continue to pitch strong in the lead-up to September but his suspension ended the mystery.

Repertoire:

  • Fastball: Stroman served as Team USA’s closer and turned heads with his heater. As a starter for Duke, however, he operated more in 92-93 range while occasionally touching as high 96-97. His fastball has been described as having “good, natural life” near the bottom of the strike zone. However, his moderate stature limits the amount of downward plane that he has to work with.
  • Slider: Stroman also sports a slider which he typically throws in the 83-85 mph range which shows glimpses of being a true plus or even plus-plus pitch. Stroman is able to hit both sides of the plate for strikes or bury one in the dirt on command. If Stroman can bring a plus slider to the plate every appearance, then he could be a very powerful weapon for the Jays in the late innings even as a strictly fastball-slider guy.
  • Cutter: Stroman’s repertoire also features a cut fastball that is thrown in the 87-88 mph range which he uses primarily against lefties to great effect. His ability to command this pitch will be important in determining whether he will get a chance to start in the Jays’ system.
  • Change-up: Sits in the 82-83 mph range. Stroman possesses great arm speed on his four-seam change-up which gets hitters out front of the pitch when he’s working off of his fastball. Potential to be an average offering. Hopefully, the Jays knack for teaching the change-up works for Stroman and he can continue his career as a starter.

Prediction:

After Stroman returns from his suspension in 2013, he will likely return to New Hampshire and continue work as a reliever. It’s rumoured that the Jays want to use him exclusively as a reliever as he makes his way to the Major Leagues though they haven’t ruled out returning him to a rotation in the future. It is possible they will attempt to bring him along the same path that Chris Sale took to the Majors when he began working first as a reliever/closer and then moved back to the rotation after a year or two of working out of the bullpen.

I expect that if Stroman continues to succeed in his return to AA that he would be rather quickly to Buffalo to prepare him for a potential late-season call-up to the Majors for a cup of coffee at least. While it’s widely believed that Stroman has the polish to find success in the Majors almost immediately, Jays fans need to look no further than 2010 first-round draft pick Deck McGuire to find a player expected to move quickly to the Majors who has stumbled in the upper Minors. However, if unlike with McGuire the Jays decide to forego attempts to make Stroman a starter, he will likely find success anyway with a reduced arsenal in a late-inning role which some scouts believe his body-type is better suited to anyway.

Video:


(Courtesy of MLBPRospectPortal.com)

1. Travis d’Arnaud 2. Noah Syndergaard 3. Aaron Sanchez 4.Jake Marisnick 5. Justin Nicolino
6. Adeiny Hechavarria 7. Roberto Osuna 8. Dan Norris 9. Marcus Stroman 10. Sean Nolin

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