22. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (supplemental for failure to sign 2011 first-round pick Tyler Beede) — Marcus Stroman: RHP, Duke
Just 5-foot-9, Stroman still throws in the mid-90s and served as the Team USA closer last season. As a closer for Team USA, he didn’t allow a hit in 8 1/3 innings. At Duke he started, going 6-5 with a 2.39 ERA. He struck out 136 and had 26 walks in 98 innings, while putting up a 1.88 FIP for a 21-34 Duke squad. If he starts his pro career as a reliever, he could be the closest of any of this year’s draftees to the big leagues, much like Chris Sale in 2010. There are plenty of doubters about Stroman’s ability to start because of his size, but nobody doubts he can strike out big-league hitters. In addition to his fastball, he has a slider that’s considered a legitimate out pitch, to go along with a solid changeup.
College relievers always get looks in the early stages of the Draft if they are believed to be able to move quickly to the big leagues. Stroman has the chance to be the first of those closer types to go off the board.
Because of his size and electric arm, he gets Tom Gordon comparisions all the time. He throws his fastball consistently in the mid-90s with some pretty good tail when it’s down in the zone. He complements it with a power curve that has a nasty late break to it. His command isn’t fine, but he’s generally around the strike zone with both offerings.
As a short reliever, that might be all he needs at the next level. Stroman is coming off a dominant summer with USA Baseball, so scouts will be very curious to see how his junior season unfolds.
This pick was compensation for the Blue Jays failure to sign right handed high school pitcher Tyler Beede in the 2011 MLB draft.