Marcus Stroman Key To Toronto Blue Jays’ Playoff Hopes
It is a special occasion for any rookie, a day that you and your family remember for the rest of their lives, the moment a baseball player makes his first start in the major leagues. That occasion came yesterday for Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher, Marcus Stroman, whom was facing the Kansas City Royals, and it was as momentous as the twenty-three year old from Long Island, New York had envisioned.
This was in fact Stroman’s second stint with the Blue Jays, after making five appearances in relief and not faring too well in the process. Stroman, picked 22nd overall in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft, struggled with inconsistencies during his first stint, which lead to a 12.79 ERA in those first five relief outings. Stroman was a starter in double and triple A, so this would have been put down to different preparation routines and pitching more than once every five days.
When Blue Jays General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos, made the call to bring up his number two prospect from Buffalo on Friday, fans and front office alike finally got to see Stroman as he was supposed to pitch, a major league starter.
Early on, Stroman was electric. He struck out five in the first three innings and after striking out Royals’ first-baseman Eric Hosmer to end the first, Hosmer was captured on video muttering under his breath “wow”, while exiting the batter’s box. Stroman repeatedly used his fastball, which topped out at 95mph, to get to two strikes only to wipe out the hitters with his wicked slider that moved up to a foot laterally time after time.
It was clear that after this start where Stroman’s future lie and only time will tell whether this deadly performance was a one off or not. Signs point towards not, as Stroman was billed as a major league starter from the moment he was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2012. Tipped to the most “major-league ready” prospect in that year’s draft, Stroman rode the minor leagues very quickly and narrowly missed out on September call ups in both 2013 and 2014.
The former Duke Blue Devil was noticeably upset at the club’s decision to leave him out for a second year in a row, but took to social media to stress his intentions to work hard and make the big league club in 2014. Those promises have been met and the dream has been realised. For Stroman, his next goal is to become a regular fixture in the Blue Jays starting rotation for the remainder of the season. In what is looking more and more likely to be a playoff race down to the wire, Stroman may just be what the Blue Jays need in order to make their first postseason for twenty-one years.
For Marcus Stroman, the month of June is all about consistency and development. The fifth spot in the rotation is his for the rest of season if he can churn out quality starts like the one on Saturday. No announcement has yet been made on his future, but he has surely done enough to earn a second start this week. For the Blue Jays, they may have just unearthed the key to the playoffs.