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Marcus Stroman Proves Size is Not Everything

The Toronto Blue Jays are flying high in the American League East, as they have opened up a 6 game lead over the second place New York Yankees.

Toronto has won 6 straight and 8 of its past 10 overall. The Blue Jays currently have the second best record in the American League behind just the Oakland A’s.

The Blue Jays have a very strong batting order that can break open any game at any time. However, even though they have a very good record their pitching staff is considered by most to be mediocre at best.

On offense, the team leads the American League in slugging percentage by 34 points at .453. However, the pitching staff is eighth in runs allowed, while the bullpen is not inspiring and the defense can at times be suspect. The problems in the bullpen and on defense can be helped by a strong starting rotation, but Toronto does not have one of those either.

However, they do have some talent in the starting rotation and one pitcher Marcus Stroman is showing how good things come in small packages.

The 5-foot-9 Stroman is noticed first for his height, or lack thereof, but batters quickly notice him for his strong arm, like 95-mph strong. Add to that a tough slider and you have a draft pick from the first round that is paying dividends for the Blue Jays.

With his 95-mph fastball and excellent slider some are wondering if he is a better starter or if he could become a big closer because his lack of size could prevent him from pitching so many innings every fifth day.

For now, Toronto has Stroman as a starter and he has been an effective one at that. He has two starts and in each, he has pitched six innings allowing one run and recording an average of more than one strikeout per inning.

Stroman has at times had problems controlling his fastball. Just ask Matt Holliday who was hit Friday night. Nevertheless, on Friday he got out of a tough first inning and moved his fastball around and buried his filthy slider on the bottom side of the strike zone making it practically impossible to hit.

Besides Stroman, the Blue Jays starters include Mark Beuhrle who is 10-1 with an ERA of 2.10. The veteran has thrown superbly this season thus far, but can it continue is the big question.

R.A. Dickey won the Cy Young two seasons ago. His knuckleball has kept him around this season and baffling hitters once again, but his best days look to be behind him.

Drew Hutchison has 72 innings under his belt this season following his Tommy John surgery of last year. He is a third or fourth starter at best.

J.A. Happ is the team’s fifth starter and has not impressed of yet.

Those four starters mean that Toronto could really benefit from Stroman having a breakout season on the mound.

With three starters who are No. 3 and one No. 5, the Blue Jays could use a rookie to take over the No. 1 spot even though he lacks experience, if they want to continue playing at a clip of .600 the rest of the season.

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