Blue Jays SP Marcus Stroman made an otherwise lost season as fun as possible.
The regular season is over, and it was awful. Some bright spots burned throughout the year, though, and none brighter than fan-favorite Marcus Stroman.
Stroman kept the attention of Canadian fans through this March’s World Baseball Classic, tossing 15 1/3 innings over three starts and limiting international competition to a 2.35 ERA, capped by a six-inning, hitless appearance in the Championship Game, defeating Puerto Rico 8-0 for their first WBC victory. Marcus walked away with the tournament MVP award, and it was a sign of things to come for his 2017 season.
|4 Yr||4 Yr||37||25||3.61||95||89||3||1||562.2||555||247||226||51||150||2||459||14||4||23||118||3.57||1.253||8.9||0.8||2.4||7.3||3.06|
|4 Se||4 Se||4 Se||562.2||101||89||247||3.95||4.54||0.02||0.18||102.9||4.84||49||5.5||1.04||-0.4||10.6||111||.556||.510|
Man…all of it. Stroman managed to hide the misery of 2017 every fifth day by going out and shoving against the American League East, posting a 3.09 ERA over 201 innings, earning himself a 5.8 bWAR, 149 ERA+ and a 13-9 record for you lumbering dinosaurs out there.
Here’s a few games in particular that stand out:
- 12 April VS MIL: 9 IP, 7 H, 2 R, HR, 4 K
- 23 April @LAA: 9 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 5 K
- 8 May VS CLE: 6 IP, 0 R, 6 H
- 28 June @BAL: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 8 K
- 22 July @CLE: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 7 K
- 8 July VS HOU: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 6 K
Possibly the greatest moment of the 2017 season.
Where were you when Marcus Stroman took that line drive to the arm on September 2nd? I remember where I was, sitting on my couch at home (that’s kind of our thing, here), struggling to breathe. 2017 had been nothing short of a barren hellscape of Blue Jays baseball, and now the deities of this tortuous game were threatening to take away a constant source of enjoyment.
"It just felt like my arm exploded."
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 3, 2017
Luckily, Stroman’s sprawling across the mound after that line drive was mostly driven by shock, and he made his next start, avoiding any missed time. Not only does he go out there every fifth day and give you maximum effort, but he’s tough as nails and there is no one on this team as fun as our Ace.
Performance-wise, Stroman did not struggle often in 2017. A few outings stand out:
- 18 April VS BOS: 4.2 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 4 K
- 3 May @NYY: 3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 HR, 2 K
- 22 June @TEX: 4 IP, 7 R, 3 HR, 2 BB, 5 K
- 23 August @TB: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 HR, 4 K
There’s a few takeaways here, if you want to nit-pick. When Marcus got in trouble, it was because his fastballs weren’t sinking, and instead were being redirected for home runs. With a sinkerballer, this happens. The fact that it only really seemed to happen four times this season is exceptional. And the chances of it happening again in 2018…well, we’ll see.
Looking Forward to 2018
Stroman made tremendous strides in 2017, bouncing back from a below-average season in 2016 that saw him post an ERA+ of just 97. He shattered that mark in 2017, posting a 149 ERA+, 13-9 record and a 3.09 ERA over 201 innings. If it weren’t for other-worldly performances from the likes of Corey Kluber and others, he would be in conversation for the American League Cy Young Award.
So it’s hard to suggest a place for Stroman to improve, especially when he posted a bWAR of 5.8 over 200+ innings. Maybe more consistency low int he zone with a sinker? It seems like a lot to ask for, and at most, would result from simple adjustments.
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