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December 9, 2013

Prospect Debate

Stroman vs. Sanchez

by Jason Parks and BP Prospect Staff

The subjective nature of prospect prognostication is equal parts fascination and frustration, as the prejudices and partialities of the evaluation process can limit what we see and how we go about compartmentalizing that information. I’m a registered bullpen box offender; a recidivist when it comes to placing radically short arms, radically tall arms, slim and slender arms, and most arms of Dominican provenance into a future bullpen role before the developmental process has played out. I recognize that this particular bias is often incongruent to the nature of the process itself, and it paints me as a hypocrite when I preach against binary logic and then participate in such black and white developmental tropes. I’m working on it.

Perhaps my newfound developmental liberalism pushed me toward Marcus Stroman as the top prospect in the Jays system, or perhaps he’s just the best candidate for the spot, regardless of his ultimate role. Outside of a few arms, the historical record isn’t littered with sub 5’10’’ righty starters that found sustainable success at the major-league level, and that fact alone could give even the most strident supporters a valid reason to question Stroman’s long-term future in a rotation. But I was eventually persuaded to believe the diminutive arm was not only a starter but a superior prospect, one with an upside similar to Aaron Sanchez, with a more mature arsenal, better all-around feel, and a low risk/high floor if the rotation projection failed to actualize. I feel confident in the outcome of the list, but it took a healthy debate and opinions from all sides to carve out the conclusion. This is how the sausage is made.

Jason Parks: This is going to be a fun system to debate, especially Stroman vs Sanchez for the top spot. I think Stroman has a very good case. I'm not sure which way I'm leaning yet, but I have several reports that help make the case for his spot at the top.

Josh Herzenberg: I agree on Stroman > Sanchez. I see a similar ceiling in both of them, but Stroman has a higher floor. I don't buy into the height stuff…he can pitch.

Steffan Segui: I'll take Sanchez over Stroman. Sanchez easier delivery with obvious more ideal size. I feel like a lot of Stroman’s deception and stuff comes from that uptempo attacking delivery and I don't think it's sustainable as a starter over multiple big-league seasons, no matter how good an athlete he is. Stroman could/should be the Jays’ setup guy or closer now but long term I'll take Sanchez.

Nick Faleris: First, I very much like Stroman up top and Norris at #4. I think Stroman is closer to fully baked, and the ability to actualize his stuff is there – with Sanchez I feel like I'm constantly teased with "This might be really great when it clicks and he's spotting and consistently executing the curve." I think Stroman has the tools to start, but ultimately it comes down to how he executes once at the MLB level. Gray showed the blueprint -- command down, work east/west, change eye level with plus to plus-plus power curve. Stroman doesn't get the same drop on his breaker, but there's tilt and it disappears. I think it's enough to keep big leaguers honest so long as he can throw for strikes (and he has when I've seen him).”

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