One of, if not the most, exciting pitching prospects to watch last season, was the performance Marcus Stroman was able to showcase in 2014. Going into 2015, it seemed as though Stroman was a prime breakout candidate.
Unfortunately, we never got to see Stroman take the next step to stardom, as he went down with a torn ACL in Spring Training. As we all know, ACL injuries are usually costing athletes at least a year, so it was easy to write off Stroman in terms of any value for 2015.
But somehow, six measly months later, Stroman is on the cusp of returning to the Jays. He is scheduled to make a rehab start on Sept. 2, and then another final stop on Sept. 7th in AAA, before he comes back to the team.
While this is all exiting for fantasy owners and especially Blue Jays fans, I still have some hesitancy towards deeming him a must add.
First off, for any owners that are in leagues that allow you stash people on the D.L. or NA lists, adding Stroman should be a given since it offers a low risk-high reward addition, which is ideal. But, if you are not a league with flexible rosters, adding Stroman warrants a little more analysis.
The bright spot about Stroman’s injury, is that has nothing to do with his arm, so velocity and command should be unaffected. My concern strictly injury speaking, comes from the fact that the ACL was on his planting leg, which we know serves as the stabilizer of the entire delivery.
That continued torque and weight transfer, leaves me uncertain that the muscles around the knee are strong enough since it has been only roughly six months since his surgery. However, Jays’ management and Stroman himself of course, know how healed his knee actually is and for them to even entertain the fact he could return, deserves notice.
Now even if Stroman looks good and suffers no setbacks during the rehab starts, his role down the stretch is muddled as well. The Jays seem to have 1-5 in the rotation pretty set, Price-Dickey-Buerhle-Estrada-Hutchinson, leaving the Jays in a situation where Stroman offers them flexibility.
I wish is could emphatically say that he will jump right back into the rotation and supplant Hutchinson, but I am not certain that the Jays would rather allow Stroman to become a bridge guy to Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna, compared to knocking someone out of the rotation. .
Stroman’s situation is definitely interesting to say the least, as his immense talent offers fantasy owners the idea of inserting him into their rotations during the playoffs. Which basically serves as adding an ace off the waiver wire. But, we cannot ignore the red flags and concern. So my advice for owners that are not in leagues with overly flexible rosters as we sit here today, is to exude patience at least until he makes his first rehab outing.
If he excels, hopefully the Jays announce more of what his role may be when he returns. If he falters, watch his next outing even closer to see if he can actually make an impact this season.I never want to advise owners to clog a spot on their bench, because you never know what gem you may pass up as you play the waiting game. Stroman’s talent is not the question, it all boils down to if all the starts can align and he make the incredible return to fantasy relevance this season.