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2017 Fantasy Baseball: Don't Doubt Blue Jays SP Marcus Stroman

Senior Fantasy Baseball Expert Adam Ronis does not doubt Toronto Blue Jays SP Marcus Stroman heading into the 2017 MLB season. Find out why...

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Marcus Stroman was a popular breakout candidate for many last season. The Blue Jays right-hander didn't live up to the lofty expectations and when owners get burned by a player, they often cross them off their draft list the following season.

This is where you can take advantage. While Stroman got off to a bad start last season, there were promising signs as the season continued. Stroman missed most of 2015 with a torn ACL he suffered that spring training. He returned for four starts late in the season and pitched in the playoffs.

Stroman went 9-10 with a 4.37 ERA and 1.29 WHIP last season. He had a 7.32 K/9, 2.38 BB/9 and a 60.1 percent ground ball rate. He had just a 20.4 percent fly ball rate, yet had a 16.5 percent home run/fly ball rate. He allowed 21 home runs, but only eight came at home in the homer-friendly park.

Stroman has a good array of pitches with a fastball, cutter, slider, curve and sinker. A poor start to the season really put him in a hole with a 5.33 ERA over his first 16 starts. He was better in the second half, especially with an increase in strikeouts, tossing 88 innings with a 3.68 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.49 K/9, and a 2.15 BB/9.

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Keep in mind that last season was his first full year as a starter in the majors. Stroman made his debut in 2014, pitching 26 games, including 20 starts. He needed to make adjustments as the season went on and he did. As Shawn Childs pointed out in our Blue Jays team outlook, Stroman's sinker was getting hit hard and he needed to use it less and incorporate his secondary pitches more.

After a 7.71 ERA in June, Stroman posted ERAs of 3.71, 3.13 and 3.41 in the final three months. He pitched better than the surface stats showed over the season. Stroman has the tools to be a successful pitcher in Fantasy Baseball. He has an array of good pitches, excellent control and induces a lot of ground balls. Home runs shouldn't be an issue for a player of this profile.

Many people will also doubt Stroman due to his lack of size. He is listed generously at 5-foot-9, 185 pounds and many are quick to dismiss short pitchers. I covered him in high school when he played at Patchogue-Medford High School on Long Island and he embraced his critics saying he would never make it far. Stroman has been doubted his entire life, which only further fuels his fire. Throughout his entire life, he has been told he was too short to make it, yet he pitched well at Duke University and was a first-round pick. Even then, critics didn't think he would become a starter. Stroman feeds off the doubt and even created an apparel line called “Heigh Doesn't Measure Heart.” My advice is not to doubt him in 2017.

Stroman might see his ADP rise after his success against the Dominican Republic, a powerful lineup, in the World Baseball Classic. Pitching for USA, Stroman pitched 4.2 scoreless innings and allowed three hits and struck out four. If you want to know how good his curve is, watch the highlight of him making the knees of Jose Bautista buckle on a 3-and-2 pitch.

Stroman went in round 12 in a 12-team high stakes draft Sunday night and in round 12 in my Tout Wars 15-team mixed league. I was going to take Stroman that round, but he went three picks before me. If I know one thing about him, doubt only has a positive impact on Stroman and I want him on my 2017 Fantasy teams. 

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