Pitching in the Arizona Fall League Toronto Blue Jays pitching prospect Marcus Stroman feels like he’s getting closer to achieving his goal of joining the big club.
“That’s the goal of every player and I feel like I’m close,” Stroman told Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Thursday. “I think I just need to go into spring training ready to pitch and refine a couple of things.”
Stroman has impressed with the AFL’s Salt River Rafters where he is 1-2 with an ERA of 3.09 and 13 strikeouts in nine appearances, with his best outing coming in relief on Nov. 7 when he pitched two innings, throwing strikes on 19 of 25 pitches while striking out five.
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The Blue Jays have told Stroman he’s going to be a starter moving forward and the Rafters have allowed him to pitch like one despite coming out of the bullpen. The 22-year-old says it’s worked to his benefit.
“When I come out of the bullpen, I’m pitching like a starter, so I’m throwing all five pitches in a start and I feel like I’m starting to get a really good feel for my change-up,” Stroman said. “My change-up was my biggest emphasis coming out here.
“I’m not necessarily going to two pitches. I’m using the whole arsenal out here and its fun because I feel like I can really keep hitters off balance coming out of the bullpen.”
Also on the Rafters is fellow Jays pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez. In 18.1 innings for the Rafters over five appearances, Sanchez has a 0.98 ERA (fifth in the AFL), 0.76 WHIP (third) and 18 strikeouts with a record of 1-1.
“He’s filthy,” Stroman said. “He’s one of my best friends. We’ve kind of grown since I’ve been part of the organization. We’ve been together 24/7 and just watching him pitch is fun. I’ve enjoyed every second of it.”
Sanchez gets the start Thursday for the Rafters, who can advance to the AFL championship game with a win and a Mesa Solar Sox loss.