“Prospecting Prospects” is a series at Baseball Babble profiling minor league players. It covers their background, minor league career, interesting facts and gives you a prediction on when they will make an impact at the major league level. Stay ahead of the game by getting to know these players!
Marcus E. Stroman – SP – Toronto Blue Jays
The Basics: 22 years old, born in Medford, NY, is listed at 5’9″ 185 pounds and as Marcus will tell you HDMH (Height doesn’t measure heart). Stroman was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1st round of the 2012 draft with the 22nd overall pick out of Duke University. Stroman was considered the most major league ready pitcher from the draft and was expected to contribute at the major league level as a RP in short order. The Blue Jays considered Stroman a SP which many scouts originally disagreed with due to his height.
Milb Career: The Jays inked Stroman with a $1.8MM signing bonus and assigned him to Vancouver Short A ball in July of 2012. From July 12th – 31st Stroman pitched in Vancouver then made a large jump to AA New Hampshire for August. In total for 2012 Stroman pitched 19.1 IN of relief going 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA with 23SO/9BB. He was a prime candidate for a September call-up however he tested positive for a banned stimulant and was handed a 50 game suspension. This was a big disappointment as the suspension would be served mostly in 2013 meaning the timeframe for Stroman in the Majors was largely affected. Despite this, Stroman ranked in several top 100 prospect lists at 92nd from mlb.com & 98th from Baseball America.
2013 started with most of his 50 game suspension being served. Once this suspension was completed, the Blue Jays transitioned Stroman into a full-time starter giving him 20 starts in AA NH in 2013. He delivered with a respectable 9-5 record in 111.2 IN with a 129SO/27BB ratio. This strong performance has changed the minds of many scouts that viewed Stroman as a RP in the majors. Jason Parks from Baseball Prospectus ranked Stroman #27th overall moving him to the top spot amongst the Blue Jays Milb talent. Most other top 100 lists have landing him a little higher up on the list but more often than not around 50.
Future: Stroman should see the majors in 2014, he has an outside shot at the 5th rotation spot on the Blue Jays roster if they do not sign a FA such as Santana or Jimenez. The more likely outcome is that Stroman starts 2014 in AAA Buffalo until he gets called up. There is a large backlog on the Blue Jays which could delay Stromans ML debut.
Despite his size Stroman has shown the ability to maintain strong K rates while maintaining very low BB rates. He is not your typical “stuff” guy but more of an underrated force that continues to show constant strong performances. If all goes well in Stromans transition to the majors he should be a #3 type of starter who can give solid reliable innings. Some scouts worry that his size could catch up with him causing his body to wear down or limit his ability to create a downward plain on his fastball.
Conclusions: The Blue Jays look to have made a solid pick in Stroman as he moved quickly as suspected and even changed the minds of scouts who limited his potential. HDMH is very true when it comes to Stroman as anyone who follows him on twitter @MStrooo7 knows. He is a genuine athlete who is quickly becoming a fan favorite after paying off his mom’s mortgage and consistently showing his excitement to be a Blue Jay. Fans are starting to notice Stroman and for good reason. The Blue Jays have not had a strong reputation with developing prospects over the last decade and could have scored well with Stroman.