Let’s face facts; the club’s starting rotation is in a state of chaos, surrounded by question marks from top to bottom. Not many teams across MLB have a competition this wide open for the fourth and fifth spots. The answer to this annual conundrum is staring the Toronto Blue Jays right in the face, however, just as in the case of Casey Janssen taking over in the ninth inning, it might take the organization a while to realize it.
Insert Lloyd Christmas “You’ll have to excuse my friend, he’s a little slow. The town is back that way” quote here.
Enter explosive rookie in-waiting, Marcus Stroman, the 22-year-old kid who offers the ammunition of three plus pitches: A heater that can pack an upper 90s punch, a slider that drops off the table and an increasingly effective cutter. He employs a work in progress change-up, but let’s be real; even seasoned veterans haven’t been able to tame that beast. A bullpen arm turned starter during his tenure suiting up in a Duke Blue Devils‘ uniform — one who holds the school’s strikeout record with 290 punch-outs over 222.0 career innings — this was only the beginning of his burgeoning star power.
The whiffs and batters caught looking didn’t end there. The rocket armed righty’s two year stat line through stops with the Vancouver Canadians and New Hampshire Fisher Cats is eye-popping with a minor league career K/9 of 10.4 and SO/BB ratio of 4.78, adding a growing command of his arsenal in the process.
With Drew Hutchison poised to take over the role of No. 4 due to J.A. Happ‘s sudden back issues (or is that translation for a mechanical flaw during his recent spring showing of 6 H, 6 ER, and 5 BB in 1.1 innings), the time is ripe for Stroman to step in and hit the ground running.
To the “not enough sample size” crowd, I say point taken; there is validity to that notion. The questions you should be asking though are these: Do the Blue Jays want to send a high upside fire-baller to mound every fifth day? Or do they want to continue to send lambs to the slaughter? If you answered by supporting the former, I say, hallelujah.
No, the term “high upside” does not apply to Kyle Drabek any longer. Nor was it ever part of the Esmil Rogers scouting report. Step away from the fantasy owner trying to rip you off.