Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Blue Jays list
The Top Ten
1. Marcus Stroman
Height/Weight: 5’9” 185 lbs
Drafted/Acquired: 1st round, 2012 draft, Duke University (Durham, NC)
Previous Ranking: #8 (Org)
2013 Stats: 3.30 ERA (111.2 IP, 99 H, 129 K, 27 BB) at Double-A New Hampshire
The Tools: 7 FB; 7 CT; 7 potential SL; 6 potential CH
What Happened in 2013: Stroman made 20 starts at the Double-A level, showing bat-missing ability and sharp command, doing everything in his power to convince the doubters that he can be a starting pitcher.
Strengths: Strong and athletic; generates power in his delivery with lower half; impressive arm strength; fastball works low/mid-90s; can sit mid-90s in bursts; slider is true wipeout pitch; easy 7 grade; mid-80s with sharp tilt; changeup flashes plus; projects to play at that grade; excellent action and deception from fastball; shows plus-plus cutter in the 91-93 range; nasty and late glove-side slice; plus command profile; big-time competitor.
Weaknesses: Short; has to work down to create plane; fastball can arrive flat/lack movement; if he works up, becomes hittable; changeup can get too firm/overthrown.
Overall Future Potential: High 6; no. 2 starter
Realistic Role: 6; elite late-innings reliever (closer)
Risk Factor/Injury History: Low risk; ready for major leagues
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: Stroman is that perfect combination of high fantasy potential in the rotation and a high fantasy floor in the bullpen. As a starter, he can rack up the strikeouts with multiple pitches and has the control/command to have a very strong WHIP—though his ERA may lag behind due to potential troubles with the long ball. As a reliever, he could be one of the top fantasy closers in baseball, but like any relief prospect, just because he’s awesome doesn’t mean he’ll get saves when you want him to.
The Year Ahead: Stroman might be even shorter than his listed height (5’9’’), and normally I would be the first person to put him into the reliever box—especially given the fact that he could be an elite closer in that role. But I think Stroman is a starter all the way, with more than enough strength and athleticism for the workload and a deep arsenal that he can command. He’s atypical and unorthodox, but Stroman is going to be an impact starter at the major-league level. The stuff is well above average, the delivery and arm work very well and should be able to handle a starter’s workload, and the aggressiveness and poise fit the mold of a frontline starter just as much as it does a late-innings arm. If you focus too much on the height you are going to miss the realities of the overall profile. This is a starting pitcher.
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