Stroman gets work in pitching to Smith in street

March 30th, 2020

No stranger to unorthodox workouts, does not appear to be having any trouble keeping in shape during Major League Baseball’s coronavirus stoppage.

The Mets pitcher posted a video on social media Monday showing him delivering pitches to a barefoot in the middle of a paved street. “Money!” Smith yells after Stroman delivers a strike, twice lifting his leg in a delayed delivery.

A left-handed fielder, Smith owns the rarest of gloves -- a lefty catcher’s mitt -- for just such occasions.

Stroman often experiments with windup variations, as he demonstrates in the video, using them to throw off hitters’ timing. In so doing, he posted a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts after coming to the Mets last July in a Trade Deadline deal for prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson.

The key, he says, is a core that he considers the “best in the league.” Shortly before Spring Training began, Stroman released a workout video showing him balancing a wine glass on his back as he performed a bear crawl exercise on the street outside his house. The video, Stroman said, required only one take.

“My biggest thing I preach when pitching is core-strength stability, flexibility and mobility, so the bear crawl is kind of the highest level, being able to do that with a wine glass of stability,” Stroman said. “I think I have the best core in the league. I put a lot of work in that, so I am extremely stable.”

This offseason, Stroman hired Blue Jays head trainer Nikki Huffman away from his former team to become his personal trainer. The two met in 2015, when Stroman returned to his alma mater, Duke University, to rehab from an Achilles tear. Part of the three-person team that ran his recovery program, Huffman followed Stroman to the Blue Jays the following year. She stayed until October 2019, three months after the Mets acquired Stroman from Toronto.

Players throughout baseball are working hard to find ways to keep in shape despite diminished access to team facilities, local gyms and personal trainers. But Stroman, who believes mental strength is as important as physical strength, is among those best equipped to power through the stoppage.

“I am very conscious and it’s something that I focus on, whether it be reading, whether it be meditating, whether it be finding whatever it is to kind of find my calm,” Stroman said. “I know that when I’m in a good place there mentally, I know I am pretty much unstoppable, so that is kind of the biggest thing I’m always focusing on.”