To say Marcus Stroman is struggling is an understatement. Lately, the Blue Jays pitcher is looking less like an ace and more like someone who is lost. Stroman didn’t last five innings in his last outing against the Athletics in Oakland despite the offense supplying him with early runs.
Stroman’s ERA to this point in the 2016 season is 5.15 but that only tells you that he giving up a lot of runs. There are those who are scratching their heads as to why he is struggling but I don’t think it is that difficult to understand. Stroman is leaving too many pitches up and not throwing his off-speed pitches as much as he should. He relies on his 2-seam fastball to get ground balls but isn’t getting any. Stroman basically has become a one-pitch pitcher and hitters are simply waiting for the right pitch to come to them.
I don’t think confidence is an issue for Stroman. He has shown that in the past with his rather quick recovery of a torn ACL in Spring Training in 2015. That confidence enabled him to pitch late in the season and into the playoffs. But part of his latest struggles also stem from his lack of faith in those who play behind him. Easy ground balls are getting through the infield and when you can’t trust your teammates to make those plays, it will eat even the most confident of players like Stroman.
Stroman isn’t the first highly-touted Blue Jays pitcher who has struggled early on in his baseball career. Roy Halladay pitched 3 seasons in the majors before getting sent down to Class “A” in 2001 to change his delivery and transform him from a strikeout pitcher to one that pitches to contact. I don’t think Stroman needs to start from scratch but the Blue Jays have proved they can reinvent players and that is an option that they can go to.
I have to laugh at all the baseball pundits in Toronto who have quickly written off Stroman. That’s not to ignore his struggles but to shrug him off after what is his first full-season as a starting pitcher only proves my theory that people are too lazy to find the truth and will blindly believe what others tell them.
Everyone is worrying too much about Stroman. It is not too late for him to get back to his early season form and dominate hitters. He will be fine.