Tha Sports Junkies 101

Marcus Stroman , The Lost Season

Keith Allison via


The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t giving up on Stroman and neither should you.

Marcus Stroman is having an awful year, there’s no denying that. After his miraculous come back from a torn ACL last season to push the Jays into a playoff spot, going 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 4 September starts and 1-0 with a 4.39 ERA in 3 postseason starts. Many expected him to become the ace of what was expected to be a weak rotation for the 2016 Toronto Blue Jays.

While that hasn’t happened this year, Stroman has gone 7-4 with a 5.15 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. His strike out numbers are down from his rookie year in which he finished with 111K over 130.2 IP compared to just 88K in 120.2 IP this season. While some would call this a big concern let’s take in to context his GO/AO rate has improved from 1.54 in that rookie year to 2.53 this season meaning he gets more ground balls now than in the past. This approach is consistent with the use of his 2 Seam Fastball approach.

Stroman’s though despite a small sample size is little higher than most of his career normal’s when looking at BABIP and SLG as well as HR/9 essentially meaning he has given up a lot more hard contact (32.7% hard contact rate) this year than in previous years. This could be a sign of major concern for the Jays front office, but keep in mind it’s only his second season in the majors (late May call up to start his career and did not play till September the following year.) 

A lot of Jays fans are sounding the alarm on Marcus and his future with the organization. He receives a lot of criticism after bad starts from the media and fans, who have both called for a demotion to AAA Buffalo at points this season. The 25-year-old showed signs of improvement just before the all-star break throwing 2 games where he allowed 3 runs in 14.2IP and flirted with a perfect game. 

Most of Stroman’s troubles have come from left-handed batters as they have hit .293 off him, compared to just .255 by righties. Lefties have also hit 8 out of the 14 home runs he has allowed this year. 

Part of Marcus’s problem is the fact that at times this season he has tried to master too many pitches. He is most effective when he throws his sinker and occasionally cuts the ball to left-handed hitters. His change-up could be the greatest equalizer he has if he can keep it down and away from lefties. 

Stroman will not be a Jose Fernadez or Chris Sale type pitcher who will rack up a lot of K’s over the season but he will succeed in other ways. Marcus could learn a lot from rotation mate Marco Estrada, as Estrada succeeds with a sub 90MPH fast ball. Marcus could also call old friend and ex rotation mate Mark Burehle as Mark was one of the best at generating weak contact and winning despite not punching many players out. 

All in all this season will be a blip on the radar of Marcus Stroman’s bright career. Chalk it up to sophomore slump, or the league learning more about him but come next year he will be in camp and working to forget about this bad season. Stroman has the work ethic and baseball mind to overcome a season like this. Most of all at age 25 the former first round pick has shown an incredible determination to succeed and carry out his goals. My money is on a strong bounce back second half and next season for Marcus Stroman.