Stroman’s stint with the big league team wasn’t exactly a memorable one, as he posted a 12.79 ERA in 6.1 innings pitched. He also gave up a whopping 13 hits during that span.
Despite having great stuff, it appears that the 23-year-old prospect simply isn’t polished enough to pitch in the major leagues yet.
Stroman’s biggest problem has been is his inability to utilize his fastball. While the right-hander has a very good fastball and throws it with an average velocity of 94.1 mph, locating the pitch and throwing it past opposing batters has been a problem for the young pitcher.
According to Fangraphs’ PITCHf/x, opponents have hit .500 against Stroman’s heater. In comparison, his slider—also considered to be a plus pitch—has been much more effective, with batters only hitting .167 against it.
But, Stroman continued to throw an excessive amount of fastballs despite finding more success with his slider. PITCHf/x shows that 49.6 percent of his total pitches were fastballs, and he only threw the slider 14.7 percent of the time.
All of that aside, Toronto’s handling of its prized young prospect has also been puzzling.
While Stroman was drafted as a reliever—he was a closer during his final season at college—the Blue Jays were quick to convert him into a starting pitcher shortly after signing him. He made 20 starts last season in Double-A and didn’t pitch a single inning out of the bullpen.
Before his call-up this season, Stroman was a starting pitcher in Triple-A, posting a 1.69 ERA in five starts.
So it was definitely a surprising move by the Blue Jays to call him up and send him straight to their bullpen, especially considering the holes in the team’s rotation.
It’s fair to say that pitching as a reliever in the major leagues after being a starting pitcher in the minors might have rattled Stroman. It could have also been a factor in his decision to throw so many fastballs instead of properly mixing his pitches.
Regardless of why or how it happened, it appears that Stroman’s first stint in the majors wasn’t as successful as he and the team would have liked. But, if this motivates him to go down and work on his weaknesses, then it will have been worth it.
*All stats are from fangraphs.com