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The Season That Was: Marcus Stroman

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

I think it is fair to say that we were a little bit disappointed in Marcus Stroman’s 2016 season. He had a 4.37 ERA and a 9-10 record, not terrible, but not what we were expecting after a terrific finish to the 2015 season and with him being our ‘ace’ in the playoffs that season.

So, coming into this season, there were suggestions that he wasn’t going to be the ace we expected. That maybe he wasn’t big enough to handle a full season of starting.

It seemed to me that he was rather unlucky in 2016 and I was hoping for better this year.

Things did go better.


2017 26 13 9 3.09 33 33 2 201.0 201 69 21 62 164 6 149 3.90

Baseball Reference has him at a 5.8 WAR. FanGraphs was a little less in love, giving him a 3.4 WAR, giving him a value of $27.1 million to the Jays. Last year FanGraphs liked him more than BR.

He had a BABIP of .310, almost exactly the same as his .308 from 2016. I thought that, with him being a ground ball pitcher, he would have a lower BABIP. His left on base % was 78.1 up from 68.6 the year before.

Marcus gave up line drives 18.2% of the time (down from 19.6 last year). Ground balls 62.1% (up from 60.1) and fly balls 19.7% (down from 20.4). 17.8% of this fly ball left the park (up from 16.5).

His FIP (3.90) and xFIP (3.59 were both higher than his ERA.

His strikeout rate was 19.7% (about the same as last year 19.4). Walk rate was up a bit (7.4%, up from 6.3).

Marcus had reverse splits this year, with lefties hitting him .251/.321/.329, while right-handers hit .275/.324/.446. In the past he’s had more traditional splits.

He was better at home (2.63 ERA, batters hit .251/.307/.364) than on the road (3.72, 280/.343/.430). He likes Canada.

He had a better ERA in the second half (2.84), than in the first half (3.28). But he had a much better record in the first half (9-5) than the second (4-4).

Stroman by month:

  • April: 2-2, 2.97 ERA, batters hit .272/.313/.368.
  • May: 4-0, 3.62 ERA, batters hit .288/.355/.440.
  • June: 2-2, 3.67 ERA, batters hit .240/.276/.405.
  • July: 1-1, 2.03 ERA, batters hit .245/.359/.382.
  • August: 2-1, 3.20 ERA, batters hit .276/.315/.436.
  • September: 2-3, 2.97 ERA, batters hit .354/.317/.404.

He was pretty consistent.

The team that was 19-14 in his starts. His longest win streak was 6 games, running from April 23 to June 10. He never had more than 2 losses in a row.

His best start, by game score, was an 76, on June 28, when he went 7.2 innings vs the Orioles, when he allowed 5 hits, 1 walk and 8 strikeouts.

His worse start was a 21, on April 18 vs the Red Sox. He went 4.2, allowing 11 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, with 4 strikeouts.

Marcus had a terrific season. Very consistent. Very few bad games. I was going to do a poll on Jays pitcher of the year, but it wasn’t a contest, Marcus was it.

The quick pitches and hesitations made him very hard to hit. It also made batters call time on him a lot. Which irritated him at times. He’s pretty emotional, on the mound, which helps make him a favorite of mine, but rubs some the wrong way.

Marcus is a very hard worker. It seems like he has a little chip on his shoulder about being ‘small’ and he works hard to prove people wrong. Some are wired that way, ‘I’ll show them’.

Marcus was fourth in the AL in bWAR. Fourth in ERA. Sixth in innings pitched. Also fourth home runs allowed per 9 innings. I keep getting told he isn’t an ace, but, if he isn’t, he’ll do until an ace comes along.

It seems we gets more soft ground balls that find holes in the infield than anyone. I’ll admit, there are moments when I think we should have 5 infielders on the field when he pitches.

A lot has been made of his falling out with Aaron Sanchez. Stuff like that I could care less about. But it does seem like they are opposites, and I can imagine they can get on each other’s nerves at times. It did seem, to me, that Stroman would have been a better choice for those West Jet commercials than Sanchez was, but I guess Sanchez had the better 2016 season and West Jet bet on him.

It was fun to watch him with Jose Bautista this year. It was nicely bookended by his question at Jose’s press conference, when Jose signed last winter, and him hugging Jose from behind coming out of the dugout after the final game of the season.

I want to do a post so we can vote on the best moment of the season. I’m thinking Stroman’s home run would get a lot of votes. He finished the season with a pretty great batting line .286/.286/1.143....on 2 hits, both for extra bases.

Can you imagine how insufferable he would be on the bench after that?

I’m enjoying watching his career and hope I get to watch him for several years.

Last year I said:

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.

This time it is Marcus that should get Cy Young votes, he’s got to be one of the top five pitchers in the AL this year. It would be nice if, next year, they both have great seasons.