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The Season That Was: Marcus Stroman

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A look at Marcus’ 2018 season.

Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Entering 2018, Marcus Stroman was coming off his best MLB season. He finished 8th in Cy Young voting, had a 3.09 ERA. 2017 was a terrific season and we were looking forward to more of the same, or perhaps better.

He had a couple of things happen over the winter. He lost in arbitration with the Jays. It wasn’t a huge lost, the arbitrator awarded him the Jays offer of $6.5 million other his ask of $6.9. I thought he’d use that as motivation to work even harder and have an ever better 2018 season.

Then, going into spring training he was ‘dealing with shoulder inflammation’. He didn’t pitch much in spring training. 7.1 ‘official’ spring innings, and a couple of non-official outings and he wasn’t exactly 100% going into the season.

If healthy he would have been our opening day starter, but he didn’t start opening day. He would end up making his first start in the Blue Jays 4th game, but still wasn’t 100%. He would make 7 starts and then go on the DL, with ‘shoulder fatigue’.

And that’s pretty much the way his season went:

Standard Pitching
W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP
4 9 5.54 19 19 102.1 115 68 63 9 36 77 2 1 3 449 76 3.91
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/22/2018.

Baseball Reference has him at a 0.2 WAR. FanGraphs was happier with him, 1.5 WAR, giving him a value of $12 million to the Jays.

Marcus had a 3.91 FIP and 3.84 xFIP much better than his ERA (which is why is FanGraphs WAR was so much better than BR).

His strikeout rate was down (17.2%, from 19.7), and his walk rate was up slightly (8.0%, from 7.4) from 2017.

Marcus’ line drive rate was down slightly (17.9%, from 18.2), ground balls exactly the same (62.1%) and he had a couple more fly balls (20.0%, from 19.7). Fewer of his fly balls left the park (13.6%, from 17.8).

He gave up a little more hard contact (33.2%, from 31.4) and a little more soft contact (21.0%, from 20.4).

His BABIP was up a bit (.326, from .310).

Stroman was slightly better vs. LHB (.272/.333/.413) than RHB (.295/.352/.420).

He was better at home (5.29 ERA, batters hit .264/.328/.401) than on the road (5.76 ERA, batters hit .299/.354/.429).

His ERA was much higher in the first half (5.86) than the second half (4.95) even though batter his him much the same (.280/.343/.418 first half, .290/.342/.414 second).

Stroman by month:

  • April: 0-3, 8.88 ERA, batters hit .298/.383/.452 in 5 starts.
  • May: 0-2, 5.25 ERA, batters hit .300/.333/.460 in 2 starts.
  • June: 1-0, 0.75 ERA, batters hit .227/.244/.295 in 2 starts.
  • July: 3-2, 3.86 ERA, batters hit .257/.323/.372 in 5 starts.
  • August: 0-1, 5.57 ERA, batters hit .289/.341/.422 in 4 starts.
  • September: 0-1, 21.6 ERA, batters hit .500/.538/.538 in 1 start.

As well as the time lost with the shoulder fatigue, Marcus also went on DL, in September, with a blister.

The team was 8-11 in his starts.

His longest win streak was 2 games. Longest losing streak was 5 games, off the start of the season.

His best start, by GameScore, was a 72, August 7th against the Red Sox at home. He went 7 innings, allowed 2 hits, 1 unearned run, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts.

Worst start? A 22, August 1 in Oakland. He went 5 innings, allowed 11 hits, 7 earned, 1 walk with 6 strikeouts. He had 4 starts in the 20s.


It was a season I’m sure he’s like to forget. Marcus should have started the season on the DL and got healthy before pitching. But, hindsight is what it is.

It does look like he had some bad luck, his FIP was a lo tbetter than his ERA.

I’m not too worried about him. He’s hard working. I’d imagine he’ll use this season to drive him to work hard over the winter.

The blister thing is a worry though. It seemed like trying to avoid the blister troubles hurt Aaron Sanchez’ season.

I do get tired of the old reporters hate for him. I get it, you don’t like the guy, but I don’t want to hear about it. Marcus had a little blow up, back in July. Griffin and Simmons used it as a chance to tell us what a jerk he was.

I think the best part about being a blogger is the distance I have from the players. I don’t have to see what the guys are like in the clubhouse and I don’t have to try to get interviews with them. I get that Marcus isn’t like Gary Carter (who teammates say never saw a microphone he didn’t like) was, he doesn’t always want to talk to reporters. I can’t say I blame him.

Marcus does seem like the type of guy who I wouldn’t want to be forced to be around a lot. I’m a pretty introverted person and I don’t always enjoy being around people at the far opposite end of the spectrum.

But, I really don’t need reporters telling me Marcus is a jerk. That doesn’t really change my view of a player. Marcus looks like a good teammate. He cheers his teammates. He seems get along with guys on the bench, as long as he is a good teammate, I don’t care if he isn’t great with reporters. I’d kind of like reporters to be professional enough not to be calling players jerks in their stories.

It would be great if Marcus can have a big bounce back season and go on to have the career with imagined he would. He’s 27 now (turns 28 in May), hitting those prime years for a baseball player. If he wants to make a ton of money, a good season would help his cause.