Since his debut in 2014, right-hander Marcus Stroman has had to overcome adversity. Whether that’s been scouts questioning his height and pitching style or suffering a torn ACL in 2015, Stroman has pushed through it all to become one of the league’s best. Now, that perseverance is about to pay off following one of the best seasons of his career as he tests the free-agent market.
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Here’s what you need to know about Stroman:
Birthdate: May 1, 1991 (Age 31 in 2022)
Primary position: SP
Height/weight: 5-foot-7, 180 lbs.
Place of birth: Medford, N.Y.
School(s): Patchogue-Medford (N.Y.) HS; Duke University
Drafted: 1st round (22nd), 2012, by Blue Jays
MLB debut: May 4, 2014
Qualifying offer: Not eligible to receive one
STAT TO KNOW
They say the best ability is availability, but it helps when you mix that with effectiveness. Since 2016, Stroman has started 149 games and posted a 3.69 ERA across 870 2/3 innings. Only eight pitchers with an ERA under 4.00 in that same span have started more games than Stroman, who opted out of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Stroman posts below-average strikeout rates, and when he gives up contact, it is loud contact. Out of all qualified pitchers in 2021, Stroman ranked in the bottom 20 in hard-hit rate allowed, at 42.2%, his third season with a rate over 40%. With that said, Stroman does balance those issues by generating ground balls. His 52.6% ground-ball rate in 2021 was a career low yet still well above MLB average (43.9%).
He was the Mets’ most reliable starter
The Mets had a steady slew of injuries and inconsistency in their rotation this past season, but the one anchor for them was Stroman. He was one of two Mets pitchers to start at least 20 games. The other was Taijuan Walker, who had a 7.13 ERA in the second half. Stroman showed his value all year, allowing exactly 30 earned runs in each half of the season. He took on the ace role with superstar Jacob deGrom out for the final three months and kept the Mets in games, allowing no more than three earned runs in 29 of his 33 total outings.
He led the U.S. to World Baseball Classic gold
Stroman was named the MVP of the 2017 World Baseball Classic after he anchored Team USA’s rotation all tournament. In three starts, Stroman posted a 2.35 ERA across 15 1/3 innings pitched, including a Herculean effort in the final game against Japan, where he tossed six-plus innings of scoreless ball and didn’t give up a hit until the seventh frame. The dominant performance propelled him to a career year as well, as Stroman had a 3.09 ERA in 201 innings, won his first Gold Glove Award and came in eighth in the AL Cy Young Award voting.
His height doesn’t measure his heart
Standing at 5-foot-7, Stroman is one of the shortest players in the league and by far the shortest amongst starting pitchers. Despite the height difference between him and other pitchers, he’s found a way to turn his disadvantage into a motivator. Stroman trademarked the phrase “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart” -- “HDMH” for short -- and started his own clothing brand based on the motto.
He’s more than just a baseball player
Outside the diamond, Stroman has had many ventures. After he tore his ACL in 2015, he returned to Duke to earn his bachelor’s degree in sociology. He’s appeared with rapper and former Duke teammate mike. (then known as Mike Stud) in concert and even had a feature on the remix of his song “These Days” in 2016. In '21, Stroman picked up photography and snapped candid shots of his Mets teammates on game days. Stroman also started his own equipment company called Shugo, which supplied his cleats this season.