Few pitchers in all of minor league baseball have pitched as well as Toronto Blue Jays prospect Marcus Stroman has this season, posting a 1.69 ERA in five starts with Triple-A Buffalo, with 36 strikeouts in his 26 2/3 innings. When Stroman had his start pushed back two days so that he could be on the same start schedule as Toronto No. 5 starter Dustin McGowan -- who's had his struggles in the middle of games -- many thought that it wouldn't be long until he received his call-up to Toronto to take McGowan's spot in the rotation.
Instead, Stroman has been called up to replace the injured Brandon Morrow on the roster, and according to Blue Jays beat writer Shi Davidi, he'll start in the bullpen. But no matter his role, he has a chance to be a key contributor to your 2014 fantasy baseball team.
What he can do
Despite his small stature (listed at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds), Stroman can get his fastball into the 92-95 mph range consistently, and there's movement on the pitch. He complements that fastball with two plus to plus-plus "hybrid" pitches; a nasty slider/cutter that buries into the hands of left-handed hitters with enough tilt on the pitch to give right-handed hitters trouble as well, and a power slurve that has more depth and spin and can get plenty of swings and misses.
He repeats his delivery well, and there's a tremendous amount of deception to it, particularly against right-handers who can really struggle to pick up the baseball from a low three-quarter arm slot. The command isn't flawless, but he attacks hitters with all four of his pitches to both sides of the plate, and rarely puts guys on base via walks.
"[Stroman] is a special talent," an NL East scouting director said. "People can talk about the size all they want, but when you have three plus pitches and you can throw strikes with them all, you have a chance to be a No. 2 starter, maybe even more. You don't see talents like this come around too often, and I don't think there'll be much of an adjustment period for him, either."