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MLB Draft 2012: Why RHP Marcus Stroman Will Be First in Class to Reach Majors

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Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2012

He will not be the first pick of the 2012 MLB Draft, but pitcher Marcus Stroman will be the first player in this draft class to play for a big league team.

The Duke pitcher was a starter during his collegiate career, but most scouts project him as a reliever at the next level. In this spot, he has a chance to thrive.

Despite standing at 5'9", Stroman has very impressive velocity on his fastball and can supplement it with a slider and a changeup. Not many prospects have three quality pitches on draft day, so the right-hander is ahead of his age.

While many teams look to project future talent on draft day, perhaps a better move is to look at an almost-finished product in Stroman. 

The New York native has the ability to help a major league team as early as this season.

If he can sign quickly, the pitcher could be placed in the upper levels of the minors with the intent to fast-track him to the big leagues. From there, he could continue to improve until he is an elite closer in the majors.

The MLB draft is usually a time for teams to think about their future as they attempt to restock the farm system. Most players remain in the minors for a few years until they are even considered for a promotion. However, Stroman can be the exception.

There are a number of teams with playoff hopes that have inconsistent bullpens. The New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals not only fit that description, but have draft picks between No. 12 and 19, right around Stroman's projected value. 

If these teams want to improve their team immediately with very little risk, there is only one option.

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