Jays From the Couch looks into what the Toronto Blue Jays can expect from SP, Marcus Stroman in 2017
With Spring Training workouts under way, it is the time of year where we start to get excited about the upcoming season. Baseball is back! In looking ahead, there will be lots of chatter about what we can expect from certain players. To that end, we’ll be taking a look at the different projections for the Toronto Blue Jays to give you an idea of what you can look forward to. Today, fan favorite Marcus Stroman is run through the proverbial projection shredder over at Fangraphs.com. But first, let’s take a look at the 2016 that was:
|162 Game Avg.||14||9||.600||3.91||32||208||90||17||51||1||170||5||2||12||860||105||3.38||1.222||8.8||0.7||2.2||7.3||3.35|
The year 2016 was not what many had envisioned for the young Blue Jays star, who after starting on Opening Day, went 3-0 in April despite a 4.37 ERA. It took until July for Stroman to have another month with a better ERA, but in July things turned around, cruising to an excellent second half, managing to slice away at a ghastly 5.33 ERA in late June down to a much more respectable 4.37 by the end of September.
Marcus Stroman had a 5.33 ERA at the end of June 2016. Despite allowing three HR versus OAK, he managed a 3.68 ERA in the second half.
— Roy-Z. 🐺 (@yeahiroy) March 1, 2017
He was then hit with some atrocious luck, posting a 0-5 record in September while pitching to a 3.41 ERA and striking out 26 across 37 innings, walking just 14 and allowing only three home runs – something we’ll need to watch in 2017 – whether he’s getting batters to hit the ball into the ground towards his excellent infielders, or creating loft and taking slow trots around the bases. Stroman’s bread-and-butter is a two-seam sinking fastball which he used at a 49.4% rate in 2016, and when that pitch is on, he’s one of the harder pitchers to hit in the MLB. However, the pitch doesn’t produce as many whiffs (5.4%) as his cutter (13.4%), so developing a plan to implement more variety might be in the best interest of the Blue Jays.
Despite his excellent second half, the projections for Stroman are a bit underwhelming. What immediately stands out are his innings projections. In 2016, though forgettable from a statistical standpoint, Stroman battled through 204 innings pitches, likely a driving force in his 3.6 fWAR. ZiPS, Steamer and Depth Charts have Stroman tossing between 140 (!) to 167 innings in the coming season, a good 30 innings fewer than the last. With a shallower bullpen than before and the Jays likely playing more close games in 2017 – where would those innings go? Of course, this isn’t the job of the projections systems, but this is the strongest case in argument against Stroman’s projections in 2017.
His rate stats seem mostly unchanged: a slight uptick in K/9 (7.3 to 7.5), an unnoticeable drop in BB/9 (2.4 to 2.3) and an unchanged HR/9 (.9). There’s just not a whole lot here to get worked up about. His wins, which mean nothing, range from 9-13, which is pretty conservative and likely an artifact of his supposedly lessened workload.
If you want to get excited and do a little extrapolating, though, his ERA and FIP is where you would want to look. Stroman out-FIP’d his ERA in 2016, posting a 3.71 for the former and an ugly-ish 4.37 for the latter. The projections see much less variance in 2017, with 3.62-3.97 range in ERA and a 3.44-3.65 in FIP. Of course, that’s with a projecting IP in the 150 range, which barring injury, Stroman should surely exceed.
And the extrapolation, you say? Well, that mediocre season in 2016 at 204 IP and a 4.37 ERA (3.71 FIP) resulted in a fWAR of 3.6. Seeing as the projections see slightly improved rate but at lesser innings, his 2.6-3.2 fWAR certainly seem over-conservative. After all, Height Doesn’t Measure fWAR.
*Featured Image Credit: ARTURO PARDAVILA III- cropped from original UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.