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If things didn't end badly, they wouldn't end at all?

That's not always true. It just seems that way sometimes. I hate to think of Marcus putting all those balls in play with that defense behind him. But he does get to hit and run the bases. Good luck to him. It's been fun.

And I have some things to do, so I'm just going to cut and paste the five Stroman entries from the annual report card. Never a dull moment.

(2014) Marcus Stroman B
- As Buehrle's entire career has demonstrated, there is art to this pitching stuff, and folks, it's just a beautiful thing. Watching a pitcher set up a hitter -  changing his eye level, getting him looking inside and out, destroying his timing to the extent that he can't catch up with a mid-80s fastball.... well, it's like poetry. I love it to death. Some pitchers seem to have picked up this ability in the womb - Maddux comes to mind, Bret Saberhagen; others pick up some of these dark arts along the way. Many never do, of course. But there's a flip side to the poetry, and that's naked aggression. Throwing your best punch, in the unshakeable belief that it will knock your man down. Stroman is the most aggressive starter the Jays have come up with since Josh Towers was around. Y'all remember Josh, don't you? Like Stroman, Towers was an under-sized RH (Stroman is short, Towers was just scrawny). Unlike Stroman, Towers had a distinctly below-average fastball (oops!) and he couldn't change speeds to save his life (Big Oops!) His aggressiveness was pretty much all he had, and he still managed a three year run when he went 30-22 with an ERA+ of 109 for the Jays. Stroman has that same quality, and much, much more besides. Like a fastball and an off-speed pitch. And he can pitch a little, too. He's a ballplayer. Successful RH starters of Stroman's size don't come around very often, but this may turn out to be one of those times.

(2015) Marcus Stroman A
It was only four starts. But still... And the fact that he was even there to make them is probably even more impressive.

(2016) Marcus Stroman C
One doesn't really want to talk in terms of "what went wrong" about a team that had a post-season run, so let's talk about "what didn't go right" - and what didn't go right for the 2016 Blue Jays were disappointing performances by three players being counted on for much more than they delivered. One, obviously, was Bautista. The second was Stroman, who was expected to be an ace and instead turned into a league average innings-eater. Which was considerably less than was expected. Stroman ended up taking over R.A. Dickey's role on the team, as Dickey himself began to fade out of the picture. What happened? I think Stroman just fell in love with the sinker, and threw so many that he lost a bit of his feel for his other pitches. No pitcher in baseball got as many groundballs, and groundballs will find holes between the fielders. I expect he's learned something from the experience. As we know, and as we all appreciate about him, he's not the type of competitor who would be satisfied with this year's work. Like Estrada, Stroman took 3 Tough Losses this season, and had no Cheap Wins.

(2017) Marcus Stroman A-
Stroman was clearly the team's best player in 2017, and what's interesting when you peer under the hood is how closely his 2017 season resembles his rather disappointing 2016 campaign. A year ago, opposing batters hit .264/.313/.407 against Stroman; this year they hit .264/.323/.392. His K-W data was essentially the same - he walked a handful more hitters in 2017. The small difference in Slugging is because about 11 hits that were doubles in 2016 became singles in 2017. But that hardly explains allowing 22 fewer runs, and cutting his ERA from 4.37 to 3.09 (and you'll notice, you FIP aficianados,  that Stroman's FIP was slightly higher this past season than it was in 2016.)  So why the difference in his results? Simple. His work with runners on base. This was a problem in 2016, when Stroman was considerably more effective with the bases empty (.695 OPS with the bases empty, .756 with runners aboard.) He solved that problem in 2017, which meant that effectively he was scattering the hits he gave up rather than bunching them. His defense also turned an extra dozen DPs behind him, which also helped. Quite a bit, I should think.  I doubt that this is a new ability - I think it's just something that happened. I'm certainly glad it happened, and I'll be pleased to see it happen again.  But his true established level of performance probably rests somewhere in between these past two seasons. Stroman had 5 Tough Losses - that's a lot - and 2 Cheap Wins.

(2018) Marcus Stroman D
Sometimes I think Stroman has been undone by the very mindset that has made him successful. He's been told all his life that he was too small to make it in the big leagues. As a necessity, he developed an obstinate belief in himself that he could indeed become a major league pitcher. And you have to give it up to him. He was right. Here he is. But it seems sometimes that there's something stubborn and obstinate about his game, that he doesn't adjust well to changing realities. And then I reflect - nah, I'm overthinking all of this. He's just a guy who doesn't miss enough bats to start with, so he's always going to be at the mercy of things he can't control. His defense, the umpires, the random vagaries of the Ball in Play.

Marcus Stroman | 35 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#378140) #
Here's Marcus' Statcast card. EV was down in 2019, and launch angle up a little- with the benefit that he has been getting pop-ups at double the rate of his career.   It's nice to have another way to get batters out.  The other thing about Marcus is that he fields well. Statistically, he's a 50-50 bet to have a decent career into his early 30s.  Subjectively, I like him a little better than that.

And I'll miss him.
Magpie - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#378141) #
Marcus is the type of pitcher I'm gener5ally skeptical about - an undersized right-hander who pitches to contact. But on the other hand, he's Marcus Stroman. His whole brand is overcoming those sort of expectations. I have no other reason to believe he can succeed. But that's a pretty good one.

Hey, I didn't have that much to do after all.
bpoz - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#378142) #
He is a class act. His tweets about departing teammates and leaving the Jays are always positive.

He loves to compete and sure has confidence.
rotorose - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#378146) #
Bob Nightengale in U.S.A Today called the trade "a stroke of genius" for the Mets and quoted another GM as calling it a steal for the Mets. Sigh.
jerjapan - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#378147) #
Fun read Magpie.  I'll miss Stro too - I've always liked fiery overachievers, and his injury comeback to pitch in the playoffs in 2015 was the icing on a pretty sweet cake of a season. 

I also like guys who get irritated by corporate management types, because I am also that guy ... and, unfortunately, I'm also aware how management tends to dump that type of guy elsewhere ...
bpoz - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#378148) #
The Jays won the 2013 off season with the Miami and NYM trades. That is according to all the experts.

I bought into all that gushing. In the end I was disappointed with the 2013 results.
mathesond - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 01:52 PM EDT (#378149) #
Marcus is fun to watch, and that's really all I ask of my sporting entertainment.
uglyone - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#378150) #
I think Stroman's "inconsistency" or "vulnerability to babip/etc" is overstated, personally. plenty of strikeout pitchers see wild ERA fluctuations as well.

he had only 2 seasons where his ERA got inflated. last year seems obviously due to injury now. And in 2016 he had that one crazy month when things went completely sideways during his first full season as an MLB SP. it wasn't even a babip thing, as his .308 that year was in line with his .306 career.

overall, his numbers are all in line with each other. he'll have hot and cold streaks just like everyone else.
Magpie - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#378152) #
Agreed, more or less. It does look to me like his problem in 2016 was pitching out of the stretch. Which he solved.

Like I said - he's a type I'm dubious about. But he's a guy I'd believe in.
Lylemcr - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#378169) #
In the end, I think he was going to be in New York at the end of 2020. Why not try to get something dor him and hopefully, he loves being a Met and we never have to face him. I think we needed arms (and so does everyone else) and these were the best arms being sent to the Jays. I think we might have been able to get a better trade for hitting prospects, but they really wanted arms.

Good luck Marcus!I will miss you
bpoz - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 04:26 PM EDT (#378170) #
Thanks Magpie for this effort.

My preference is to keep this thread as the Trade Deadline thread if that is acceptable. And also the rebuild thread.

I like the Stroman trade. We got 2 good arms. The Mets do seem to produce good pitchers which is a big plus for me.

There are many sites that do prospect lists but nobody seems to keep track of the successes and failures.

While not actively looking for it I have found a really huge amount of wrong evaluations. So I don't trust them.

I keep a list myself. I am sure it is full of wrong evaluations. So the value of these lists is fun and very little more IMO.

BlueJayWay - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#378180) #
Apparently the commotion in the clubhouse yesterday was Stroman upset that he wasn't traded to a contender.
I have a feeling Shapiro and Atkins won't be getting a Christmas card from him this year.
hypobole - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#378182) #
Marcus' previous pitching coach Pete Walker.
Marcus' new pitching coach needs a walker.
grjas - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#378188) #
I’ll miss his pitching but not his mouth. My favourite quote of the day comes from Simmons in the Post-

I once asked a Blue Jays executive when Stroman, who seemed so charming in his early years, became a jerk.

His answer was rather clear: “You don’t become one.”
grjas - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#378190) #
On a different note I remember seeing that Stroman finished as runner up as the most overrated player in the league based on a survey of players by TheAthletic last year. Same chant from a sports host below-

While I disagree with the assessment there may be a few teams that still have this view, which could have adversely affected his trade value.
uglyone - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 07:15 PM EDT (#378191) #
Seems like our FO was super unlucky to inherit a team so uniquely filled with so many "jerks".
dan gordon - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#378194) #
Just listened to Devan Fink from Fangraphs on Primetime Sports. He said that if he was a Blue Jay fan he wouldn't be disappointed in the return for Stroman.
Magpie - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#378195) #
About three weeks after Stroman made his major league debut I went scrolling through the dusty records to see just how many bantam-sized right-handed pitchers had enjoyed long and happy careers in the majors. I reported my findings, which did not give me great joy, and which remain the basis of my own reluctance to extend the man's contract.

We're looking at the years after 2020, assuming Stroman has remained healthy and productive. What kind of extension are we thinking about? How much and for how long? One would assume the player would want as much as possible, in dollars and term. Could we talk him down to, say, three additional years? Lots of money, okay, but just three years?

Well, if Stroman remains healthy and productive through the end of his current deal, he'll have made about 170 career starts. Another three years, another 90 starts? Is that too much to ask?

I don't know. But I know this. There are 314 RH pitchers who have made 260 starts in the major leagues since they moved the mound back in 1893. And here's how tall they were:

79 inches -  5
78 inches -  8
77 inches - 24
76 inches - 29
75 inches - 48
74 inches - 54
73 inches - 47
72 inches - 44
71 inches - 25
70 inches - 19
69 inches -  6
68 inches -  1
67 inches -  2
66 inches -  2

Stroman is listed at 5-7 these days. That's 67 inches. So he'd be trying to be the first guy his size since Dolf Luque, who threw his last pitch 84 years ago,  to make 260 major league starts. It's not my money, but if it was, I'd spend it somewhere else.

Dolf Luque is a legend in Cuba, and he was probably the first great Latino player in the majors. The other 5-7 pitcher was George Cuppy - he's listed in the record books as Nig Cuppy, and yes, it was because of his complexion. Up with that I will not put.

The two guys even shorter than Stroman, Luque, and Cuppy were Bert Cunningham, who started his career when the mound was just 50 feet from home plate, but stuck around until 1901, and Clark Griffith, who threw his last pitch in 1914. (There were other guys as short and shorter who had careers of similar length more than a century ago but I'm only counting those who spent at least half their careers pitching at the current distance. So no Pud Galvin and about a dozen others.)

Chuck commented in the original story that people simply don't realize how big  pitchers are. They are, on average, the biggest guys on any team. By quite a bit. But they're standing out there all by themselves, and we often don't have a sense of scale. We all knew Roy Halladay was 6-6 because we watched the Blue Jays all these years. But Derek Lowe was just as tall and I know I never noticed.

jerjapan - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 08:00 PM EDT (#378203) #
I once asked a Blue Jays executive when Stroman, who seemed so charming in his early years, became a jerk.

His answer was rather clear: “You don’t become one.”
That's a funny line grjas, but I put little stock in what nameless execs say about a player -  I'd much rather listen to the other players and the fans.  Bosses, you know .... sometimes they think employees who challenge them are jerks.  And it's not like our current FO is full of warm, friendly-seeming Beeston types at the moment. 
grjas - Monday, July 29 2019 @ 08:34 PM EDT (#378208) #
Yeah I know. I don’t have a lot of love for the FO these days either. Sigh.

Go Bo.
soupman - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 01:25 AM EDT (#378228) #
with each move it seems increasingly less likely that shapiro or atkins will ever run another team once their tenure in TO is finally put to an end.
Glevin - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 02:12 AM EDT (#378229) #
There's a really good article on Beyond the Box Score about SWR. This part really got me..

"To put Woods Richardson’s performance into a historical perspective, there have been 27 pitchers age 18 or younger to pitch at the Low-A level since 2006 (minimum 70 innings). Woods Richardson is one of them. His ranks out of those 27 pitchers go as...

FIP: 4th
xFIP: 1st
K%: 3rd
BB%: 6th
K-BB%: 2nd
HR/9: 15th"

Obviously, there's a lot of risk for an A ball pitcher, but he's a very exciting prospect. Prospect lists are useful reference points to where league sees people but the Jays are clearly higher on SRW than many teams and it's pretty understandable.
scottt - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 07:52 AM EDT (#378231) #
It actually was a blessing. The last thing I want to see is declining players being extended because they are cozy with management.

It's much better to sign guys like Sogard, Galvis and Granderson on 1 year contracts.

rabbit - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#378242) #
Like many others, I found the return for Stroman to be "light", but imagine that's the market for short ground ball pitchers, especially with teams valuing prospects higher than ever.

With respect to Stroman, I'm not unhappy the Jays didn't extend him ... I imagine they were worried about his effectiveness if (when?) he loses a few ticks on his 93 mph fastball as he approaches 35. And as much as he professed a desire to stay, I'm sure that assumed a long term with a big number (6x$22m?). We'll really miss his pitching next year but it's the right move.

The numbers on Kay and especially Woods Richardson look decent when you peel back a layer. Kay is in just his second season of pro ball. After Tommy John surgery, he was meh in A/A+ last year but lights out this year in AA. In 7 of 12 starts he gave up zero (0) runs. AAA has generally been a mess but with a few good starts as he figures it out. For an 18-year-old, Woods Richardson has been far more impressive than his 4.25 era suggests. If you look at his ERA by month (1.23, 10.89, 2.38, 1.77) you see that many of his starts have been dominant. In the three good months his SO/BB numbers are 75/10. Not bad for an 18-year-old power pitcher in low A full season.

I wish they got more but it's not horrible.
hypobole - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 10:56 AM EDT (#378247) #
I'm thinking the light return may have had something to do with the acrimonious relationship Stroman had with the FO. Every other team is run by FO types. Every other team but one - the Mets. From a pure talent standpoint, Marcus was probably worth more than the Jays got. But other GM's must have wondered what the relationship dynamics would be over the next year plus if they didn't offer to extend Marcus.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 11:09 AM EDT (#378250) #
Right thread this time, for posterity....

I gotta reiterate that given my age vs level obsession, this SWR pickup might actually be huge.

And I have to applaud the FO for targeting one high upside guy they really like instead of a bunch of mediocre.
Shoeless Joe - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 02:49 PM EDT (#378263) #
Honestly I’m underwhelmed by the deal, but if SWR has 5 or more good starts in A+ as an 18 year old he should be a top 100 guy by the end of the year. Major helium potential, especially with recognition as being in the deal.
Jonny German - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#378300) #
Stroman is listed at 5-7 these days. That's 67 inches. So he'd be trying to be the first guy his size since Dolf Luque, who threw his last pitch 84 years ago, to make 260 major league starts.

But what your numbers really show is that the odds are stacked against short guys in the general population. Stroman is not one of us, but rather a guy who has already overcome a lot of odds to make even 1 big league start. Of all people who’ve made at least 1 big league start, what’s the percentage who have made it to 260 starts? Run that for each listed height and suddenly the short guys will look a whole lot more similar to the tall guys. And if you look at how many go on to 260 starts after having made 129, by height, I suspect the pattern will disappear almost entirely.
Nigel - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#378303) #
That's an interesting thought Jonny.

The other thing I wonder about with Marcus, in terms of his aging, is whether he will avoid the "I've lost my fastball, now I need to learn a new way to get guys out" phase of his career that a number of successful pitchers who relied heavily on good FBs seem to go through. It seems that many previously successful pitchers seems to go through a year or two struggle some time in their 30s as they learn to get hitters out with their age related reduced weaponry. Marcus has already undergone a huge transformation in his pitching style the past couple of seasons (greatly increasing his breaking ball usage). Maybe he's in for more of a slow gradual decline phase? I have no data to back up these musings.
bpoz - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#378305) #
Pedro Martinez was short.
Mike Green - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 07:19 PM EDT (#378306) #
I did some research on short pitchers a long time ago. It appeared to me that few short pitchers are drafted and those that are succeed at least as often as anyone else on a proportional basis.
uglyone - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#378313) #
In basketball Height has steadily lost ground in importance compared to Wingspan.

I imagine Marcus' wingspan is significantly lengthier than his height.
Magpie - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 09:13 PM EDT (#378327) #
Of all people who’ve made at least 1 big league start, what’s the percentage who have made it to 260 starts? Run that for each listed height

That's a really interesting idea and I have no idea how to carry it out. I did this one by clicking on about 330 separate bb-ref pages.
bpoz - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 09:16 PM EDT (#378329) #
Thanks for your efforts Magpie.
Magpie - Tuesday, July 30 2019 @ 09:22 PM EDT (#378330) #
Pedro Martinez was short.

Yeah, he's in the last double-digit group (71 inches). His size was the main reason the Dodgers didn't think he could be a major league starter. Which turned out to be a pretty good break for Pedro.  Pedro's 76 inch brother Ramon was worked pretty hard when he was pretty young by Lasorda and by the time he was 30 his rotator cuff was torn.
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