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The Season That Was: Marcus Stroman

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After doing so well, for his few starts at the end of 2015, we were looking forward to seeing what Marcus Stroman would do with a full year this year.

I’m sure you remember, in 2015, Marcus wrecked his knee in spring training, and was expected to be out the full season. While rehabbing he went to Duke University and finished off his degree (pretty admirable). And then he surprised us all by coming back to pitch in September. I thought, at best, he might be able to pitch out of the pen, instead he made four September starts, picking up wins in all four, putting up a 1.67 ERA.

Then, in the playoffs, he took over the role of Ace from David Price.

We expected big things this year.

Year Age W L ERA G GS IP H ER HR BB SO HBP WP BF ERA+ FIP SO9
2016 25 9 10 4.37 32 32 204.0 209 99 21 54 166 4 9 855 97 3.71 7.3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2016.

Baseball Reference credits him with a 1.4 WAR. FanGraphs was much kinder at 3.6, giving $29 million to the Jays. I'd likely put his value somewhere between the two numbers.

Marcus had a BABIP of .308, up from .237 in his four starts last year, but close to his .306 number of 2014. His left on base percentage was 68.6% (a fair bit different than his 90.9% last year), practically the same has his 68.4% in 2014.

Batters hit line drives of him 19.6% of the time (up from last year 17.9 and the year before 18.5). His ground ball rate was 60.1% (17.9 last year, 53.9 2015). Fly ball 20.4% (17.9 last year,  27.7 in 2014). More of his fly balls were leaving the park than in the past, 16.5% up from 14.3 last year and 6.5 in 2014.

His FIP (3.71) and xFIP (3.41) were well below his ERA.

His strikeout rate (19.4%) was better than 2015 (17.5), worse than 2014 (.20.8). Walk rate 6.3% up from 2015 (5.8), equal to 2014.

Lefties (.268/.325/.416) hit Marcus a bit better than right-handers (.260/.301/..397).

His home (4-3, 4.59, batters hit .259/.309/.404), road (5-7, 4.14, batters hit .259/.317/.409) splits are pretty equal.

Marcus had a better numbers in the second half (3.68 ERA, batters hit .259/.303/.388) than first half (4.89 ERA, batters hit .268/.321/.420) but a better record in the first half (7-4) than the second half (2-6). Seems like maybe batters have something to do with pitchers W-L records.

Marcus Stroman by month:

  • April: 3-0, 4.37, batters hit .208/.264/.323
  • May: 2-1, 4.54, batters hit .289/.339/.447
  • June: 1-3, 7.76, batters hit .364/.423/.573
  • July::2-0, 3.71, batters hit .242/.265/.394
  • August: 1-1, 3.13, batters hit  .252/.287/.358
  • September: 0-5, 3.41, batters hit .239/.307/.362
You take June out of the mix and it's a pretty good season. The April line interests me, batters hit .208/.264/.323 and yet he had a 4.37 ERA.

Marcus pitched in 2 playoff games, 4.76 ERA, 11.1 innings, 7 hits, 6 earned, 3 home runs, 3 walks and 11 strikeouts.

The Jays were 14-18 in his starts. His longest win streak was 4 games, to start the season. His longest losing streak was 5 games to end the season. He was actually pitching better during the 5 game losing streak than in the 4 game win streak.

Marcus' best game by game score? Well, he had two games were he had a 79. One was a win in Tampa Bay, May 1: 8 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned, 2 walks,1 home run, 9 strikeouts. The other was a loss to the Astros in Toronto, August 1: 8 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned, 1 walk, 1 home run, 13 strikeouts.

Marcus' worst game by game score? He had a 15. A loss to the Rays in Toronto. Marcus went 5.2 innings, allowed 13 hits, 7 earned, 13 hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. We lost that game 12-2. Gibby have him a pretty long leash.

I guess it is fair to say that Marcus was lucky, in his few starts, at the end of last year. Course he deserved some luck, considering the bad luck of the injury in spring training. Marcus worked very hard to get to play last year.

This year, he seemed to be unlucky.

So the question is what will he do in the future. I'd like to think he'll be fine. He is a hard worker, he's smart he'll figure things out. The difference between the FIP and his ERA is likely a good sign for the future. His bad stretch, in the middle of the season, I don't know what was going on. It seems like everything hit against him missed gloves.

If I'd have told you, a year ago, that Aaron Sanchez would be deserving of Cy Young votes and Marcus not, you likely wouldn't have believed it. I wouldn't be surprised if they Marcus has the better year next year. I think they both will turn out to have very good careers.