5. Marcus Stroman (11-6, 3.77 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
At 5’6″, Stroman does not seem like the prototypical MLB pitcher. Scouts, both in college and in the pros, kept talking about him being too small to be a starter. If he does make it, it will be as a reliever was what they would all say.
Coming out of college, scouts had Stroman with two plus, major league pitches (fastball/slider), and two average pitches (change-up, curveball), yet he was still projected as a reliever.
Stroman proved them wrong in college, where he took the ball as a starter every opportunity he had, and now in the MLB. He has a 7.6 strikeout-per-nine innings rate in his rookie season.
Being a small pitcher, Stroman has to have sound mechanics, and he does. He has no herky jerky movements in his wind up, and he finished with perfect form, facing the batter ready to field a ball, and not putting a lot of pressure on either his arm or legs. He has no margin for error so doing this has helped him greatly.
Stroman also has some edge to his, and he will stand up for his teammates. He is currently serving a six-game suspension for throwing a pitch over the head of Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph after Joseph stepped on Jose Reyes’ hand as he slid at home plate the inning before.
I don’t condone head hunting, but I don’t think Stroman was doing that. He might have wanted to throw a brushback pitch as a message, but the pitch sailed. Stroman was not ejected and he eventually struck Joseph out in the same at-bat.
Stroman is looking to continue to prove the doubters wrong. He has set himself up as a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher for the Blie Jays. We will see if he continues his good pitching.