Archive for the ‘Marcus Stroman’ Category

stromanyells

See, I knew I shouldn’t have bothered to write about the Marcus Stroman-Caleb Joseph incident in yesterday’s Hunt For Blue October post, as evidently the matter wasn’t quite closed. To wit:

Makes sense.

Well, except for the part about Stroman appealing. Because… why?

Gregor Chisholm adds that MLB, in their release, says that “Stroman also received an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of Caleb Joseph.”

Really says a lot about how the league values player safety and how serious they are about rooting out this garbage from the game, doesn’t it? And it’s even deeper insanity given the incident involving Giancarlo Stanton last week.

Deeper still when you consider that the NHL, which does literally everything wrong when it comes to striking a balance between player safety and dogshit macho stupidity, actually comes close to having an appropriate guiding principle on stuff like this — they just don’t apply it consistently. In hockey, when it comes to high sticking, the expectation is that you’re a professional, and you’re supposed to be in control of your stick at all times, so whether it is intentional or not, if you clip someone up high with your stick, it’s a penalty (and if you draw blood, the penalty is doubled).

Why they don’t do that when it comes to running the goalie, or head shots is beyond me, but I’m more than OK with that being the case with head hunting in baseball. Obviously there is a more subjective quality to such cases, but at least then “I didn’t mean to” — which is how Stroman will plead — wouldn’t be a route to appeal.

I’d also be all for bigger suspensions than the one handed down, and suspensions for pitches that appear to be intentionally thrown at players, regardless of whether it was at the person’s head or elsewhere.

On that level, I agree with the cavalcade of homers whining on Twitter about why Darren O’Day isn’t also being suspended for throwing at Jose Bautista last night, but that’s not because I think anybody’s being unfair to the Jays here. MLB is being entirely consistent in its belief that head hunting is wrong, but that intentionally throwing at other parts of the body isn’t — or, at the very least, it isn’t worth investigating intent on such incidents.

I call bullshit. For me, you don’t throw at people. Period. And, as I said in yesterday’s post, you don’t hide behind macho nonsense to condone it. “What bothers me more than him doing it — because I understand the dugout politics involved make it difficult for a rookie to make a stand against the culture he needs to exist in — is the people who condone it or, worse still, say ‘at least aim for the ribs,’ as though that’s fucking excusable,” I wrote. “All this bullshit gets presented under the rubric of the code, and ‘being a man,’ and not looking weak, but it’s bloody obvious what’s actually the ‘manly’ reaction here. To stand up and say, “This is fucking stupid you dumb meat head fucks.’ ”

Intention doesn’t matter. Your emotions don’t matter. Whatever slight prompted it doesn’t matter. That you can convincingly pretend you believe utter horseshit like the idea that if you don’t retaliate you’ll be subjecting yourself to more abuse doesn’t matter.

You let the league do its job and you don’t keep propping up a system that discourages anyone from asking hard questions about player safety in this regard until it’s too goddamn late. You don’t play fast and loose with the potential future of another man’s brain function.

You don’t throw a fucking baseball at people.

And if you’re Marcus Stroman, you be thankful the stewards of the league, and so many commentators on it, are so hopelessly unserious about this garbage, and so afraid appearing weak or incurring a backlash among the mouth-breathers, that they’ve decided to be as lenient as they have.

stromandome

After he twirled an absolute gem on Monday night — and, y’know, managed to survive with his face intact — Marcus Stroman got himself in invitation to the big time: and eight minute chat session on cable TV with Kevin Millar.

Glamorous, no?

Chris Rose was there as well, because — as everyone who read the title of this post (read: everyone) already knows — the segment was for the MLB Network’s Intentional Talk. And actually, it was pretty entertaining, not the least of which had to do with Stroman, who is… how do you not fucking love this guy? I just want to put him in my shirt pocket and carry him around with me all day. He’s tiny! It would work!

Anywho, it was a pretty wide ranging conversation, going from his near decapitation, to Duke basketball, to his jacked-up dad, to the infamous clip of him surprising his mom by paying off her mortgage, to Jose Reyes’s off-field proclivities, to… well… just watch it. (After the jump.)

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stromanBOS

In this guest post from Kyle Matte, he looks at the stellar rookie season being put together by Marcus Stroman, and the potential for it to become an historic one (in Blue Jays terms, at least) if he’s able to keep up his current pace. Follow Kyle on Twitter at @KyleMatte.

Way back in February, I wrote an article for Drunk Jays Fans in which I looked at all of the Blue Jays number one prospects (according to Baseball America) dating back to 1983. Despite suggestions to the contrary in the comments section, it was not an attempt to predict the specific future of Aaron Sanchez, but instead to share as much information as possible from the historical record of this organization’s number one prospects that shows the steep learning curve at baseball’s highest level. The average number one prospect progressed on a slow, linear scale (roughly 1 WAR in year one, 2 WAR in year two, 3 WAR in year three), and given the lack of success developing top prospect pitchers, I wanted to stress patience with Aaron Sanchez, as it would be unfair to expect him to light the world ablaze immediately upon reaching Toronto.

Then Marcus Stroman happened. While not necessarily the Blue Jays unanimous number one prospect (many evaluators and prospectors were split between he and Sanchez), the pair was 1A and 1B in some regard. Everyone knows Stroman is having an excellent rookie season. What many don’t realize is the potentially historic nature of his inaugural year.

Marcus Stroman has made five relief appearances and thirteen starts, earning -0.1 WAR in the former and +2.2 WAR in the latter for a total of +2.1 WAR this season. He’s done this in just 86-and-a-third innings, no less. That production ranks second amongst Blue Jays pitchers behind only Mark Buehrle, who has earned 0.2 more WAR in his 63 additional innings.

As previously mentioned, when inspecting Stroman specifically as a starter, he has produced 2.2 wins in 13 starts – or roughly 0.17 WAR per start. After Wednesday’s game, the Blue Jays will have 40 remaining on their schedule, with Stroman tentatively scheduled to pitch eight of them. The club continues to give no indication that they intend to limit or shut down the right hander over the season’s final months, and should they remain in the thick of the playoff race, I suspect they’ll remain true to their word (or lack thereof). If Stroman continues to produce at a pace of 0.17 WAR per start, he’ll earn another 1.4 wins over the remainder of the season. Those 1.4 wins would raise his season total to 3.5 WAR, and place him in elite company amongst Blue Jays rookies.

Currently, the two best rookie seasons by pitchers belong to Mark Eichhorn and Gustavo Chacin, who produced 5.1 WAR (157 IP) and 3.3 WAR (203 IP) in 1986 and 2005 respectively. Should Stroman continue to play the way he has, he should surpass Chacin despite making significantly fewer starts and having far fewer innings in which to accumulate value. When expanding the criteria to include position players, Eric Hinske slides into the picture thanks to his excellent 4.6 WAR season in 2002. Really consider this for a moment: in the 38 years of Toronto Blue Jays baseball, Marcus Stroman is on pace to have the third best rookie season ever.

As a reminder, to attain this level of value, Stroman will need to continue pitching like one of the better pitchers in baseball while avoiding the dreaded shut down. Stroman has averaged 6.15 innings per start, and should he maintain that rate over his final eight starts, he’d finish the year with 135.2 innings in Toronto and 35.2 innings in Buffalo. That 171.1 inning total would be a significant increase upon his 2013 workload of 123.1 innings [plus however much he worked while suspended for 50 games -- AS], and one that may be too great for the organization to risk. Still, given all we know about Stroman’s ability and attitude, I wouldn’t put it past him.

Would it be enough to win the American League Rookie of the Year? In a word, no. Major League Baseball considers both Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu to be “rookies” despite starring in the Japanese and Cuban professional leagues respectively for years, and the two are/were having exceptional seasons. Tanaka was in the early running for the Cy Young award before succumbing to an elbow injury, while Abreu has produced 4.0 WAR, leads the world in home runs with 31, and likely finds himself in the MVP discussion (or in the discussion for second place behind Mike Trout and his playoff-bound Angels, at least).

That meaningless award should be of no consequence to Blue Jays fans, however. After years of having our dreams fall by the wayside, it appears as though the club has finally developed the home-grown star we’ve always coveted from afar, and have lacked since Roy Halladay. And, most important of all, he’s all ours until through least 2020.

As noted in the comments of the post below, this fancy little Vine clip — via @DanToman — is even better than the curveball GIF I used.

Safe to say Eric Hosmer was impressed.

stromanthrowsgrey

Interesting tweet here from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News:

To hand-hold you through that, Stroman was scheduled to start tonight for Buffalo. Now, unless there’s an error on the card in question, he’s been scratched. For what possible reason, we do not yet know.

We know the one that we don’t want to hear, but according to a follow-up tweet from Harrington, we can breath easy:

That something could be a trade, technically. There could be an issue with one of the Jays’ current crop of starters, possibly. But it seems pretty reasonable to figure what’s most likely up. Liam Hendriks needed every inch of the Rogers Centre and every ounce of defensive prowess from the guys behind him to skate through his start on Wednesday against Tampa, and though the results have been there for him, the performance and the peripherals certainly have not been.

Hendriks’ next turn in the rotation is currently slated for Tuesday, but his day actually falls on Monday’s off-day. This means that the club could skip him, pitch their starters on regular rest through next week, and then not need a fifth starter again until next Saturday, at home against St. Louis. And the Bisons just so happen to have a game on Monday, which I’d expect Stroman to end up starting.

Stroman hasn’t seen great results since his return to Buffalo — and, of course, struggled a bit during his brief time in the majors — but continued to get himself stretched back out, throwing 83 pitches in a four-plus-inning start back on Sunday. He gave up four earned runs during the outing, but struck out four, only walked one (and hit a man), and had two of those earned runs hung on him by reliever John Stilson, who took over after Stroman failed to record an out in the fifth (and hit his pitch limit), having given up two singles, then the hit batter. Not exactly as awful as the 9.00 ERA makes it look.

More importantly: it’s time. Or, at least, it looks like it’s time for Stroman, not to mention time to get out from under the Liam Hendriks experiment before the results go as sideways as you’d expect. At least, that’s what I figure. Could be way off.

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stromanthrowsgrey

From the fast Twitter fingers of Barry Davis of the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet, here’s a nifty bit of news from the Rogers-owned Toronto Blue Jays:

Let’s start here: In the overall, long-term, Stroman starting is better than Stroman relieving.

I think it would be easy to oversimplify things here. No, he didn’t have great results in the 6.1 innings he pitched while here, but I don’t think at all this is as simple as him having pitched his way out of the job.

For whatever it’s worth, some of his peripherals have been fairly good. He minimized walks, generated ground balls, and got some swing and miss. The strikeout rate certainly wasn’t where you’d want it to be, though, and while his .444 BABIP suggests there is certainly an element of bad luck that may have coloured the sample we saw, most times it didn’t exactly feel like balls were necessarily just not finding their way into gloves.

In other words, it’s hard to properly assess what this cameo means, which is exactly what you’d expect from a sample so small. And, if you’ll permit me to spitball here a little bit, I don’t think that’s what the Jays have attempted to do. In fact, I think it’s almost simple what’s going on here.

The results, I suspect, have made the manager understandably a little reluctant to go to Stroman. That being the case, instead of being the bullpen weapon he was ostensibly brought here to be, Stroman has become the fourth right-handed reliever on the bullpen depth chart, behind Janssen, Delabar, and McGowan, and is less likely to get called on than Cecil and Loup, as well. He is both accruing service time and failing to get innings.

I don’t think the demotion is an indictment of how he’s performed, I think it’s an acknowledgement of where he stands in the pecking order, and the understanding that it’s far more valuable to the club both to prevent him from accumulating service time (and potentially getting hitting arbitration a year early as a Super Two) and to get him stretched out again and ready for his ideal role, in the starting rotation.

They could have simply thrust him into that role anyway, but I can understand there being a political element here, and even some element of trepidation regarding that tiny sample. Maybe the political stuff is too convenient of an excuse — and surely it wouldn’t matter much anyway — but Todd Redmond has pitched reasonably well this year, today not withstanding, and did a very nice job as a fill-in last year. He and a faction of the room might be understandably irked if he were passed over for the opportunity by a struggling rookie. Or if that’s nonsense — and hopefully it is — the club could simply want to take a good look at what they’ve got in the hot triple-A hand of Liam Hendriks, and be understandably thinking that this is the best opportunity they’ll get to see what he can do at the next level.

Not exactly inspiring stuff, but we do know they’re at least looking at Henriks. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News spoke to Alex Anthopoulos yesterday, as the GM visited the Queen City specifically to see the 25-year-old former Twin — and, perhaps, to avoid a repeat of last season’s dunderheaded Jim-Negrych-deserved-a-chance screed from a certain Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.

“He’s why I came,” Anthopoulos said. “You want to see the 1.50 ERA for yourself. He was good. Throws strikes, changes speeds and I think people tend to forget he’s still young.”

Added Buffalo manager and OG Gary Allenson, “He’s money. … He deserves a look.”

Stroman won’t be eligible to be recalled in time for the next time the fifth starter’s spot comes up, Saturday afternoon against Oakland at Rogers Centre, so it will likely be Hendriks — and if not, Redmond — who gets the call. And with Stroman back to taking turns in the Buffalo rotation, waiting for either of those two or J.A. Happ to inevitably fail, he’s actually exactly where he should be.

stromanthrowsFLA

Yikes. This evening, after yet another fucking dispiriting bullpen blowup leading to a loss in Pittsburgh, the Jays announced — according to the busy Twitter fingers of several reporters, including Gregor Chisholm, whose tweet shows up first in my feed —  that Brandon Morrow’s examination has revealed a torn tendon sheath in his right hand, and that he has immediately been transferred to the 60-day DL. Chisholm adds that the Jays will wait to see how the injury heals to decide their next course of action, meaning that if he doesn’t need surgery he could be back in July. But if he does, he’s done for the year.

Ugh.

But there’s a small silver lining to this cloud: soon afterwards Barry Davis of the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet tweeted that the Rogers-owned Blue Jays will be calling up Marcus Stroman, and that, at least for the time being — and for fuck sakes, it will be a short one, so simmer down about it — he’ll be pitching out of the bullpen.

The Blue Jays, Barry Davis tweets, will announce the corresponding move tomorrow.

Fans have understandably been extremely frustrated with Brandon Morrow over the past couple of season. He’s generally pitched well when healthy, despite never living up to the expectations that come with having the kind of arm that he does, but those “when healthy” stretches have increasingly become fewer and farther between.

Thing is, despite nagging issues throughout even his healthiest of seasons, Morrow did make 77 starts over three seasons from 2010 to 2012. But the last three seasons have been a struggle when it comes to health, with a long layoff for an oblique injury (and some truly excellent pitching on either side of it) in 2012, last year’s nerve impingement, and now this. I’ll always be hesitant when it comes to calling someone injury prone, but also it’s not like all of our bodies react the exact same way to the stresses and strains of the extreme forces ballplayers generate. It’s certainly no longer unfair to wonder if there really is something about him, physically, that makes him susceptible to these issues — many will point to the fact that he has diabetes, though I personally don’t know nearly enough about it to suggest that there’s a direct link, nor do I suspect most who like to pontificate about such things do — but I still don’t think any of us armchair doctors can genuinely say that there has to be, and the fact of the matter, he’s now spent so much time not being quite right that figuring all of this out is about to be somebody else’s problem anyway.

In fact, if his attempt at rehab for the torn tendon sheath doesn’t solve the issue, and he needs to have season-ending surgery, it’s not inconceivable that Morrow has thrown his last pitch for the Blue Jays.

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