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February 14, 2014

Raising Aces

Bush League: Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez

by Doug Thorburn


The Bush League series takes a slight turn this week, doubling up to tackle a pair of pitchers from the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects list. I broke down the mechanics of a total of 21 pitchers from the Top 101 in the newly-released 2014 Starting Pitcher Guide, including each of the top 18, and all 47 arms from the big list were covered by Paul Sporer within the guide. I’d like to cover a number of those top pitchers at BP before the season begins, so let's make a dent with the top two prospects in the Toronto system.

Marcus Stroman
The Blue Jays nabbed Stroman with the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 draft, selecting the right-hander out of Duke University. Listed at just 5'9”, Stroman has battled doubters throughout his career, with non-stop whispers of an eventual move to the bullpen. He has a filthy arsenal of elite stuff, with three pitches that received a “7” grade from the BP prospect staff and a fourth offering that graded as plus. It's the advanced repertoire of a starting pitcher, and he deserves to be given a long leash to see if his game transitions to the highest level.

History is not on Stroman's side, given the relative dearth of sub-six-foot pitchers who enjoyed a sustained career in the rotation. But history is also skewed by the self-fulfilling prophecy that shorter pitchers belong in the bullpen, since pitchers of Stroman’s size are given very few chances to stick in the rotation. Whereas a tall pitcher with big stuff is typically given multiple opportunities to fail before being limited to relief outings, shorter pitchers must make an almost immediate impact in order to avoid the reliever label. Stroman has the ability to overcome the conventional wisdom, and the BP prospect gurus tabbed him with the no. 1 designation in the Toronto system (after some debate) ahead of fellow righty Aaron Sanchez despite a height disadvantage of more than half a foot.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (02/14)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Raising Aces: Bush Lea... (02/07)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: Organiza... (02/21)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Se... (02/14)

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