After a dominant 2017 season that saw him post a 3.09 ERA and log more than 200 innings for the second straight year, Marcus Stroman certainly earned the honour of being on the cover of the Canadian edition of MLB The Show ’18.
PlayStation revealed Stroman would grace the cover Monday, and it didn’t take long for the expressive right-hander to tweet his delight.
But should Stroman be excited about this unique distinction or is it more of a curse? We decided to take a look at how previous Canadian MLB The Show cover athletes fared since the gaming franchise introduced the country-specific concept in 2012.
2012: Jose Bautista
Coming off his second straight home run title, Bautista was a logical choice for the inaugural Canadian cover. On the field, Bautista saw his batting average dip significantly from .302 in 2011 to .241 in 2012. He only hit 27 home runs that year, but appeared in just 92 games due to a lingering wrist injury.
2013: Jose Bautista
The two-time home run champion is also a two-time cover athlete. Bautista’s numbers picked up in 2013, but still weren’t close to the gaudy stats he put up in 2010 and ’11. While he hit for a higher average than the year prior, he actually posted a lower slugging percentage in 2013. An injury once again cut Bautista’s season short, as he was shut down in early September with a left hip bone bruise.
2014: Brett Lawrie
Lawrie, a Canadian himself, won over Blue Jays fans right away with his aggressive style, and he looked to take the next step in his career entering his third full year in the league. Instead he seemed to plateau and recorded an OPS of .722, right in line with his numbers from his previous two seasons.
The Langley, B.C., native was forced to the disabled list at the end of June after being hit on the hand by a pitch. He was activated in August, but didn’t make it through a full game before suffering an oblique strain, which ended his season after just 70 games. That would be his last year with the Blue Jays as he was traded to the Oakland Athletics as part of the Josh Donaldson package in the off-season.
2015: Russell Martin
Toronto signed Martin as a free agent ahead of the 2015 season, and the catcher delivered in a big way. Martin was named to the American League all-star team and hit a career-high 23 home runs for the season. He also provided immense value behind the plate with his framing and game-calling prowess. Trying to find a curse angle here is tough, but it’s worth mentioning that Martin did collect only four hits in 26 at-bats during the Blue Jays’ playoff run.
2016: Josh Donaldson
Donaldson made a statement in his first year in Toronto, winning MVP honours in 2015. What did he do for an encore? Put up an OPS higher than the one that earned him his hardware. Nothing curse-like to see here, except for the fact that he didn’t win MVP.
Sanchez pitched to the best ERA in the American League in 2016, and was a very safe choice for the cover of The Show. His 2017 campaign ended up being a total disaster due to recurring blister problems and the right-hander logged only 36 innings on the year.